Halloween's over. The restless dead spirits (and fairy princesses and Supermen) have returned from whence they came. So now comes All Saints Day. I will celebrate my own saints today, rather than wax elegiac over Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa. Here are some my own personal saints, whom I honor today.
Daddy: Truly a saint. This quiet man put up with his wife's loud crazy family for over 50 years but managed to remain jolly and good-natured almost to the end. (And we'll forgive him those last few years of grouchiness.) He was a gardener, builder, grocery-shopper extraordinaire, singer of "Suwanee River" and "Oh What A Beautiful Morning," caretaker of sick children in the middle of the night, lover of Christmas, hater of PTA meetings (but went anyway), and an all-around good guy. He loved us all deeply. He died in 1999.
Mother: An active saint. The electricity that kept the family-machine running. Part of her was adventuresome - she joined the WAVES in World War II and moved away from her family in Atlanta, she worked outside the home for most of my growing-up years, and it was her bright idea to have us camp all the way to California and back for our 1959 vacation. But she could be pretty stodgy in some other ways, especially where religion and food was concerned (when we took her to New Orleans, she'd only eat at Shoney's!). But she was funny and gregarious and proud of all of us. She died in 2004.
David: A not-so-saintly saint. At least not in his younger years. David was the wild brother - mopeds and loud old jalopies (remember The Blue Goose?), rock and roll music, ducktails and high flat-tops, wall-puncher, sister-puncher, all-round prankster. But he sowed his wild oats early and became a responsible businessman and loving father. He died much too young (44) of pancreatic cancer in 1990.
Aubrey: A fisherman saint. Dear Aubrey died in March of cancer. He was a good friend and knew how to make a damn good gin and tonic.
Two dear saintly friends died during 2007, Dede and Emily.
Dede made me welcome when we first hit the doorstep of All Saints' Church back in 1981. She was friendly and fun. I had both of her children in Sunday School classes over the years. She, too, left this world too soon.
Emily, on the other hand, led a good long life. A true Southern lady, whose ashes reposed in an antique soup tureen during her funeral service (so I'm told - how perfect is that?). One year she bought Kate a lovely Easter bonnet, which was much appreciated by this struggling single mom.
Tom: A classmate saint. Tom died in 2006 in that horrific kidnapping incident in Iraq. He was a Quaker and a peacemaker. He gave his life for what he believed.
For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
May your lives be filled with such saints. A good All Saints Day to you all.