Doug's great aunt turned 103 on Saturday, so part of the reason for our trip was to go celebrate her.
|85, 103, 87.|
She remembered before Geoff was born we came to visit with Jessica on our way to NY (she and her husband were living in Connecticut). And we didn't visit more than once with Geoff because he was hell on wheels when he was little.
But she remembers them, and remembers details and stories. She loves to tell them to the kids (us) and our kids.
Doug took me on a nostalgia tour on Saturday night, we drove all around back and forth across the rivers that run through the valley where he grew up. It was dark, and he couldn't make out some of the places that he wanted to point out (again... I identified one of his relative's homes on the main drag because I knew it was across from the seamstress) and he was happy I knew. We went to the Hot Dog Shoppe, which is an amazingly delicious heart attack in a styrofoam box, and ate overlooking the river outside of the insurance company his dad owned for many years (family still owns it, and family still works there...)
On Sunday, we went to Gary's church. I call it Gary's church because for many years Bonnie didn't go there. Not exactly sure why. But she seems to have been going back more in the last year. Gary was very active in his church, and was clerk of the Session (i.e.: Secretary/Record Keeper for the Governing Body) and was chair of the search committee for a new pastor.
Gary was very involved but Bonnie didn't really go there much. I'm not sure of the back story. I think some feelings were hurt or something was said. For a long time she went to the Anglican church that my sister in law and her husband go to.
Lately she's been back at Gary's church. So I guess I can call it Bonnie's church too. They all seem to love her. And everyone has been incredibly supportive to her.
When Gary died, they didn't have a pastor picked yet. Their pastor had retired, and they were using substitute pastors, one of them very regularly. They wanted that guy to be their pastor. He wanted to be their pastor. Gary really wanted him to be the pastor.
His name is Lee. For a long time he actually was their pastor but had gone somewhere else for a while. He was retired, and the rules and bylaws of his retirement as interpreted by The Home Office (shall we say) stated that he couldn't be hired back to the church he'd retired from.
But. After a while, someone put the pieces together and realized he had not retired from their church, but from another. The paperwork was faulty. The truth won out.
He was offered the position (and accepted) and announced it while we were there on Sunday. How fortuitous for us to be there. Almost like we knew it was going to happen that this announcement was going down.
Gary got his pastor.
Lee said "Gary used to say things like "This is a GREAT day! An Historic Day!" about things when decisions were made. He was maybe partly kidding, but he was enthusiastic about getting things done. So Lee quoted him, and looked to us, and told us he was going to do his best for Gary and for us.
It was humbling.
And then he skipped a whole section of the service. Completely blew it. Because he was probably flustered after having just made such an historic and great announcement. When everyone was laughing I called out "Tell 'em it's your first day!"
It couldn't have been more perfect.
Well. Actually, it could have. Gary could have been sitting in his seat. He always sat in Row 4, Left side, 2nd seat from the window. He would call Lee's phone and leave messages saying that. "Hello, Lee, this is Gary. Fourth Row, Left Side, 2nd seat from the window..." and then leave the rest of his message.
Lee said whenever he would be in the church he'd walk by Gary's seat and touch the back. I am tempted to get a small copper plate engraved with that on it.
We had a good weekend.
Bonnie's family has a big family reunion every summer. I don't think we've been for over 15 years now that I think of it. We intended to go last year but decided not to with the move and house hunting. The year before we planned a vacation and didn't know the schedule of the event, and were in town the wrong weekend.
This year, we have no excuse. It'll be nice. It'll be a great day, an historic day!