Friday, June 5, 2009

A Pile of Ash


Back yard weenie roasts, ice cream cake, brownies, "don't hit the fire with the football!", tire swing rides, and daddy showing off his new flame thrower--aah, my kind of party! My family doesn't really need an excuse to get together, but a graduation and two birthdays in one month are sure to rate a huge desire for a party.

My childhood is filled with memories of my five first cousins and me getting together for similar occasions... and not merely because they lived next door. Two lived for years as missionary kids on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. The other three trotted around the globe with their mom and military dad. And yet, despite the distance, we still managed to "grow up" together. Over the years, we took several vacations wherever they were located at the time and spent many holidays together here.

Now, the family is all back in the Louisiana-Mississippi area, but today, it seemed different. Or maybe it's just different because as I sit back and watch everyone play with my children, it reflects an image of another set of youngsters playing in the same yard just a few years ago.

This pile of burning logs in my parents' back yard may not look significant, but it is. There have been so many nights spent around glowing embers just talking with family, teaching Doug how to cook the perfect marshmallow, singing in the swing with my mother as we swatted mosquitoes and listened to the bug zapper. It was by this same burn pile one afternoon that my grandfather spoke the last words I would understand from him before he died as he told my mom and me that we would love my baby whether it was a boy or a girl.

In the Bible, the Israelites would set up rocks as altars to help them not forget the significance of some great event. In my family, we have a pile of ash set in the midst of a circle of dirt, which has been hardened by years of fires. And that's more priceless than anything carved out of marble.

1 comment: