On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2020:

family cemeteryThere was a time not too many centuries ago when it was not uncommon for a person to live their entire life within a few miles of the place where they were born. The furthest they traveled was to the nearest town for supplies, church and school. They socialized with family and friends from nearby farms, picked a mate from that small pool of choices, raised children, died at home and were laid to rest in the community cemetery.

Then, in the early 19th century, Samuel Morse and other inventors developed a way to transmit electrical signals over long distances, and the communication revolution began. It wasn’t long before radios, telephones, televisions, computers and satellites opened up the world to those little insulated areas. While all this was going on, other inventors transformed travel with the creation of steamboats, trains, automobiles, airplanes and rockets.

Almost overnight, at least from a historical perspective, civilization changed from a communication revolutioncollection of micro or extremely small communities to one macro or large scale, we-are-the-world society. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes, but there are times when I feel like COVID has pushed us back into a micro world. It’s not the ultra-isolated world of the pre-electronic age. We still have instant access to more information than we can or want to take in, but our pool of human contacts has dried up to a puddle. I became very aware of that this past weekend.

Aunt Fay 95th BD

Aunt Fay at her 95th birthday party last year.

Before the virus (BV), David and I spent a lot of time with family. Aunt Fay, my last living relative from Mom and Dad’s generation, likes to gather family at her home in Brashear for a visit and a big meal at every opportunity. But COVID has put a stop to those gatherings. She still keeps in touch with her family by phone, text, email and Facebook, but she ends every conversation or correspondence with “Come see me.” After missing Easter, Mother’s Day and Fourth of July, I decided it was time for a visit.

“What day is good for us to come? I’ll bring lunch.”

“Penny (her daughter from Texarkana) is here this week, but she’s leaving Saturday afternoon. How about lunch on Saturday? She and I will do the lunch. You just bring your broccoli salad.”

So Saturday morning David and I made the thirty-minute drive to Aunt Fay’s farm. I was

Fish fry spread

Typical family spread – more on the other side!

looking forward to seeing her and Penny, but I knew it would be different. When we drove down the long gravel driveway, we saw only one car parked beside the house instead of half a dozen. The kitchen looked familiar with pots on the stove and food scattered on the counters, but the table looked strange. Instead of being covered with stacks of paper plates, containers of plastic utensils, half finished glasses of tea, toys, car keys and other miscellany, it was formally set for four with china, gold flatware, stemmed glasses, and cloth napkins.

Greetings were awkward as the customary hugs were withheld, but conversation was lively and punctuated with lots of laughter. There was way too much food for four people, but we enjoyed every bite – and  we lingered at the table long after our plates were empty because we were enjoying every word. Practical matters eventually intruded. David went to the garage to check out an ornery chain saw, Penny went upstairs to prepare for her trip home and Aunt Fay finally let me dry the dishes for her.

We got home a little before 5:00 pm. It had been a good day. I missed the ones who weren’t there, but the smaller group meant less chaos. We moved past Good to see you and How have you been to some real conversation. As we sat down to eat, Aunt Fay asked us what God had been doing in our lives during the pandemic, and we had time to really share. And even though there were “real” dishes to wash, the kitchen was easier to clean.

At some point, COVID will hopefully mutate into something that can be treated like the common cold or we’ll develop a herd immunity, and life will go back to something resembling normal. I’ll be glad to return to the big family gatherings, the Fair and other craft shows where I have a chance to talk to readers face to face, and all the other big events that make up our macro-sized lives. But I will miss the small micro moments like our Saturday. I’ll just have to remember to arrange for more of them.

Blessings,

Linda

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Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Comments on: "Living in a Micro World | by Linda Brendle" (4)

  1. Pam Burleson Langley said:

    Enjoyed reading this, Linda! Please invite me next time y’all have a family get-together – I will come!! I would love to see everyone, or some of y’all anyway.

  2. This is a very nice piece! And what a beautiful picture of Aunt Fay!!

    • Thank you! I wasn’t sure about this one, but I’ve lots of nice feedback, so I guess it worked!
      I love this picture, too. It is from January of 2019 when we all met at AJs for her birthday dinner.

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