If you’ve read my scrooge posts (found here and here), then you likely know how difficult the holidays are for me. I have lived in the strange, alternate universe that is Louisiana for around 20 years. All of my family is in Iowa, and I only get to see them a couple times a year, for three or four days at a time.
The holidays are especially difficult as so many things are family-oriented. Everyone is all abuzz with how excited they are to spend time with family. I see photos of family get-togethers all over social media. I admit, I’m a bit jealous. Although Jerry’s family lives here, and I’m so grateful to be a part of their gatherings, it’s still not the same as being with my own family.
As a child, my older cousins would come visit during hunting season (that’s what Iowans did back then- hunt, fish, and trap). My dad enjoyed doing these outdoor activities, and loved taking the three brothers with him. They would stay for several days, sometimes a week, however long it took them to get a deer.
After serving our country, the middle brother, George, moved back to his hometown, so he was again present for many family gatherings. Despite being an adult, he still came to our house every now and then to visit, and we always enjoyed hearing his stories. He and my dad were very close and had a lot of similar interests.
When my dad died of cancer in October of 2008, George was the first person I called to tell. He was also one of the first ones to show up at my mom’s house- just to be there and help out. He knew dad and us well enough that he “got” why I had asparagus put into Dad’s casket piece. Instead of flowers, George brought a piece he made himself, deer antlers with pheasant feathers, leather, and an arrowhead- as these items had special, personal meaning. On the Christmas following Dad’s death, Mom gifted this piece to me, and it remains in a place of honor in our home.
With Thanksgiving having come and gone, and Christmas around the corner, things have been bittersweet. Although Thanksgiving Day was going to be particularly difficult because it was Dad’s birthday, and I missed my family, Jerry’s second grandchild was born that day, several weeks early. Being there for such a wonderful event, getting to play with Big Brother and welcome the new guy into the world, eased the pain a bit.
Although I am excited to get to go home to Iowa and see my family for Christmas, it’s still pretty rough being the only one down here in this alternate plane of existence. Then, lo and behold, I found out George was flying into Louisiana to take care of some things, and he asked how far I was from where he would be.
Even though he had a lot going on, George, along with his super-cool friend Bobby, still made time to come through my area Wednesday and take me to lunch. We went to one of my fave restaurants, Cane River Bar and Grill, sat outside on their balcony overlooking the river, and had a great visit. Dad would have approved.
So, I was able to hang out with family, at a place owned by people who have become like family. I’m one helluva lucky gal! I got to spend time with my cousin, who will always have a special place in my heart; and share with him a place that will always be in my heart. I’m still a scrooge, but that day really softened my bitterness. So, thank you, George, for making time for me- you have no idea how much that meant.
Please be sure to check out CaneRiverBarandGrillRestaurant.com– they made me famous- I’m on their website! And thank you, A., as always, everything was fabulous 🙂