Thank you all for your sweet wishes and thoughts for us. I can't really put into words how thankful I am that it somehow worked out that the kids and I were able to be there for the visitation and the funeral. Besides me not being in fighting shape (and still not this morning) but the fact I'm not used to driving that far solo with no relief driver and the fact there wasn't time to get the car serviced....God had His hand on this whole thing and it was just meant for us to be there.
When we arrived at Camp Springs Methodist Church in the small community of Cherry Grove Friday evening, as we were coming down the road, before we could see the church, we could see cars. Cars everywhere. Please keep in mind that most 92 year olds' usually outlive all their friends and if you've ever been to a funeral for someone that old, it's pretty quiet. Not this one. They counted on the register that about 250 people came Friday evening to pay respects. It was not just older people...there were all ages there. The church is small, and you could barely make your way in. There was also very limited air conditioning. This does not work well with somebody fighting bronchitis. It was hot. Er. Than. Hades.
Much talk amongst those viztin at visitation about the gorgeous flower arrangements from Vince Gill & Amy Grant, Brad & Kimberly Paisely, Ricky Skaggs and all the Whites. That's not unusual for Nashville, but, Cherry Grove? Big stuff. Granny would've dug that.
The family stood at the front in a receiving line but there wasn't room for all of us. My #1 Son stood in for his Dad, who was working in Virginia that night. I was pretty proud of him.
Even though I've been in this family for 17 years, there's some relatives I had never met before. One, being Mr. Smiff's Uncle Penn. That is not a misprint. He has an Uncle Penn. His dad's brother. I met all sorts of cousins I've heard the Smiff's talk about through the years. I even met a lady they referred to as "Sugarfoot." Heh. Sugarfoot.
#2 was a little antsy through this whole thing. "I'm ready to go now" is what he told me about 5 minutes after we got there. At one point, I'm sitting there in the pew and #2 looks around and said "Now, is somebody going to be speaking?" I told him that somebody would speak at the funeral the next day. #2 looked away, as if in deep thought and then declared "I don't think I will be coming tomorrow." Like he had other plans and just couldn't make it.
#2 was so antsy, I said "Go play in the cemetery and see your ancestors." As a lot of rural churches have, there is a cemetery on the church grounds. When I told #2 to go see his ancestors, he sure enough could see near about all his ancestors on his Grandma Hazel's side. In this one cemetery rest, now, his great-grandparents, both sets of great-great grandparents and a set of Great-Great grandparents. That's not mentioning all the aunts, uncles, cousins and various other kin that my children are related to. It's really something.
I then realized I might have created a problem sending #2 to the cemetery when I remembered that Granny's grave had already been dug. I got to thinking, if anybody would end up falling into a not-yet-occupied grave, it would be #2. Can you imagine the therapy that kid would need???
Folks in the country still practice the ritual of having somebody sit up all night with the body. Here in Nashville, or in most metropolitan/suburban areas, the funeral home has a security guard do that. Not in Caswell County. A number of family friends volunteered to stay at the church all night.
I mentioned the vast amounts of food in an earlier post. It was like Jesus feeding the multitudes and it was good, homemade food....cakes, pies, vegetables, casseroles, everything you can imagine. Granny always wanted us to eat a lot. She said she wanted us "fat and sassy." She should've never been concerned her family wouldn't consume enough food.
There were lots of tears Friday evening, but, they were usually followed with a funny story or remembrance. There were wounded relationships repaired. Lots of hugging. Granny would've wanted us doing exactly what we did...eat, laugh, maybe cry a little...
More to come....pictures later.