Last evening, once the sun started to dip a bit, my sister-in-law Tina and I went to a nearby local community park where they were having a seafood festival, every kind of seafood imaginable. As you entered the park you purchased "coins" with which to trade for beverages, and all the seafood and drinks were sold on point/coin system, which I loved because I hate counting out actual money. We each bought 20 coins/points for 20 dollars and proceeded to walk the now breezy park, which was teaming with people. Temps during the day had been upper 80s and muggy, but at past 6pm it was dreamy breezy.
There's a lot of history in this park for the both of us, since my sister-in-law grew up in the town where the park sits, and had spent her childhood there, and some of her teen dating times there with my brother, and they lived their early years in this community as well before buying their dream home/hobby farm more rural. I, myself, lived in this community (neighbor to the community I now live in) when I was a newly divorced single mom attending the local campus and my eldest daughters attended my sister-in-law's home daycare back then, played two of their young years out with their cousin, my nephew Michael, and visited this park, but if you ask them now, they only remember the park in much later teen years on our final return to Wisconsin when we took Alice swimming there.
We, of course, ran into people we knew from neighboring communities and of course Tina knew more people than I did, since she works nearby, and many people knew both Tina and my brother Jamie. Time moved on and stood still, depending on whichever which way we stepped through the park, and is same-same in whichever which way we step of late, and in general, living in the close-knit communities that we do.
It's going to be like that for a long time, or as Tina and I discussed later, maybe it's going to be like that forever missing Jamie. We're going to get through it, and then just keep going through it, all at the same time, all.the.time. That's pretty much the nature of it. That is what we're thinking is the ultimate feeling. The missing him is never going to go away, which is how we are keeping him.
Eventually, Tina and I settled on our seafood choices. I have to say I had no trouble spending all but 4 of my 20 coins, but my favorite choice was some oven-baked cod, which melted in my mouth, and just might have very nearly almost smoothed, soothed and re-noodled my brain pan for good. It was yummy, melt-in-your mouth omega-3 goodness, on a bed of fresh salad greens including spinach! 'Had some scallops with it and some fries.
Tina had shrimp and fries. We downed bottled waters, diet 7-up and later we each, no holds barred, had a cold beer! --which this brings us to the part of the story where you can't take us anywhere, because outdoor events bring with them flimsy plastic cups!
Below is a picture of what happened to Tina's beer at the halfway point ... and as soon as it happened she said, "Oh, great, I can see right now, this is going to end up on your Facebook!" to which I said, "Nope, I'm on hiatus from Fbook, remember, this is my total family and regroup weekend, but I'm pretty sure I can build a blog post around this!" SNAP!...
So after Tina splashed beer on my foot, we meandered a bit more at the seafood romp, met up with her son/my nephew Michael, fed him some fish, urging him to use our "leftover" coins, and then headed back to her place (the place I still call "Jamie and Tina's" and will forever), where we sat outside swatting the few naggy mosquitos and talked.
As we listened to their new, gurgling fish pond, something planned prior to Jamie's death and put in by mom and son now, we discussed the past, the present and the future, including Alice's graduation which was by then less than 12 hours away. Time once again had flown past us AN INSTANT, except I was reminded of one of my favorite sayings (so much so of late), "no such thing as time, only change," and here we were going another merry round again.
It's dizzying. I don't know how we stopped each other from falling in the fish pond because flash-forward and late last night has smeared already into today, and below, is a picture I snapped of Alice several hours ago, when we got to the high school at the appointed time today, an hour prior to graduation startup.
The grads were to go in one set of doors, and parents/guests in another. I snapped this as she waved "ta-ta for now," and it's on her Facebook page with the words, "Goodbye, Mommy! I'm going to go through the other door all by myself while you go sit down! See you on the stage in an hour!"
When we got home and I looked at the pictures and then handed the Bloggie camera over to her so she could upload what she wanted my comment was, "I love that you are standing by a manhole cover. When you were little that would have terrified you to walk over it," and she would have walked around it, but it's also very Alice and Wonderland and Rabbit-Hole-ish so it's really cracking me up now.
I also, at first cranked on myself, for not "zooming" in the picture, but then we both decided that we loved that she's so "far away" from me down the sidewalk because, well that's somehow very, very appropriate.
It's been quite a weekend in so many respects, I have to say.
Alice Jean Anderson - Graduation Day - June 5 - 2011
Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got. ~Janis Joplin