Good evening

Today, it dawned upon me that my father, grandfather, and uncle are quite literally the last of the Rea clan men in our family. My father had 2 daughters and neither of my uncles had children, sadly. I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger. To be fair, none of us are. This of course led to the thought of old family traditions and memories. Who will keep them alive for generations after I am gone? Who will tell the stories of my family? Who will tell the stories of your family? Do you have them written down? Is there a book with the most memorable moments recorded? Or do those reside only in your mind, your soul, your spirit? With that, I thought I might share a few memories of my own. (When I find the pictures corresponding to the memories I will add them in).

When I was young we had a tradition in my family. Now that I look on it, I only remember it happening to me, my sister, and my cousin. Nonetheless, it was something the entire family joined in on. First off, it happened on one’s birthday. We would line up, or rather, huddle up on either side of the front door inside the house. My dad, granddaddy, Uncle Stephen, and my Uncle Dean would step forward. The birthday child would lay on the kitchen floor with their feet facing the door. Chuckles and snickering would arise. As each of the men grabbed a leg or arm the snickering would get louder. The birthday child was picked up off the floor and swung back and forth. With each swing their bottom getting closer to the door until finally the two would come into contact. I drew my line at 12. I told them, “This is it”. So, they slammed my butt on the door 12 times, plus one to grow on. It was funny. It was hilarious. It is something I miss seeing at our events. My sister was the last to get them and it was when she was quite small. I loved the attention. She didn’t.

For quite a few years we held my birthday party in conjunction with my cousin’s. We added my grandfather into the mix as well. My cousin’s was the 13th, my grandfather’s the 26th, and mine the 27th of November. I was born on a Sunday, While waiting, my father sat and watched the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins play. How interesting that I became a Cowboys fan many years later (to my family’s dismay due to them being hardcore Redskins fans). Most people would have minded having to share their birthday. I never did. My cousin and I were attached at the hip well into our adult years. I was always close to my paternal grandfather as a child. I spent many hours after school and during the summer in his “workshop”, which was a huge garage behind the house where he made all kinds of things out of wood, fixed broken items, etc. To this day, I can still recall the smell of wood and oil that permeated the structure. Sharing my birthday with those I love was a joy.

Speaking of my cousin, there are so many memories I recall. Some are wonderful and others not so wonderful. Annie and I were attached at the hip for most of our lives. No matter where she moved to we were on the phone with one another. We had sleepovers and she often came to visit my grandparents while I was there. She was born the year before me. I always looked up to her. Annie was beautiful, funny, and fearless. She was cool. Do people still say that? Am I showing my age? Hehe!

When Annie first found makeup she decided that I should “find” it too. Needless to say my mother and grandmother were not amused. Annie had caked it on so thick it stained my fair complexion in bright blues and reds. It looked like the fourth of July had thrown up all over my face.

I remember from the time we were little we would hide in a beehive fence. It was a spot that was surrounded by a privacy fence and inside of it were beehives. My grandfather was a beekeeper. My cousin and I decided that was our special place to hang out and tell all our secrets. One day in particular we were in there sitting and chatting. She decided to disturb the bees. They came flying out. None of them messed with me. I stood there watching my cousin screaming, yelling and running for the house. Then it happened. A honey bee flew straight into the middle of my forehead and stung me. Some say that was the calling of the Melissae, the calling to be a sacred beekeeper, but that is another story for another day. I have never been afraid of bees. To this day, I can walk into a beehive area with nothing but a sundress and listen to their beautiful song. The hum as they pass to and fro, as they beat their wings to cool off the hive in the thick summer heat.

When it comes to Annie, my memories are like a long highway, different on-ramps and off-ramps, twists and turns and yet all connected. What stands out the most on this highway of memories is simply her hug. When I felt I was falling to pieces, she would hug me and the world would slow down. Her life has always been chaos and for her to be able to stop for just a minute meant everything to me. These days we barely see each other for more than an hour at a time and even then she is busy trying to make time for everyone. Often I feel like a fixed point watching a twister raging through and retreating as quickly as it came, leaving debris everywhere but oblivious to it. It is heartbreaking. I don’t know why our friendship crumbled. Perhaps we didn’t tend to it as we should have. I am happy though to have such wonderful memories of our childhood and to still have the ability to see her. Each moment we get to spend together reminds me how close we once were and how much Annie means to me.

I remember the first day I met my lifelong best friend. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I met Jackie. I was caring for a pet that had been hers and she came to see Isis (pet rat) before I had to have her put to sleep. We didn’t speak much that day. It was kind of caveman-ish LOL. Nods, hmphs, grunts, and silence. I noticed that the original impression I had been given of her had been skewed from what I was actually experiencing. Although we didn’t speak much, I felt a pulling of my soul, my heart. I knew deep down there was a reason that little pet rat had brought us together. A week or so went by and I called her while I was at work bored. I had snuck her number from a certain person’s phone, who shall remain nameless here. I needed answers to questions only she would know. We chatted on the phone for what seemed like hours. Then, we decided to meet. I felt an instant connection to her for the second time. It was like finding out you had a twin in the world and as you came to know each other, the hole in you sewed itself back up. As the years went by she helped me, I helped her when I could, and I began to realize that in her I had found the one truest friend I would ever have. She would never judge me, make me feel unworthy, or allow someone to hurt me. We used to love to dance. We would go on Mondays to a local place that had a fire bowl and we would dance. It was so much fun. She would tell me of the latest car rebuild she was working on or the latest roadkill she had snagged and utilized the feathers for crafting. She always shared. Then one day she announced she was moving away. To be honest, I was a bit devastated. When I care for friends or family I put my whole heart and soul into it. They become the center of my world. Not in a romantic way, in a platonic way. She was a sister to me. But, in the time she was gone, we talked more than when she was here. She came back for Christmas one year and on New Year’s Eve we took this photo…

And then she came back

Then she came back and moved to the area I had just moved away from LOL. We chat every single day. I am ever so glad that she and I became friends and share such a connection!

Well, this has gotten quite long enough. There are more memories I could share of course. Maybe in the future I will add some. Would you guys like that? Let me know in the comments below! Have another cuppa and enjoy your evening folks!

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