Thursday, November 01, 2007

For all the saints who from their labors rest . . .

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.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

May your lives be filled with such saints. A good All Saints Day to you all.


Anonymous said...

I like this post Mary....your tribute to the 'saintly' people in your life. It gave me a nice warm feeling. I wouldn't be surprised in YOU are on someone's list of saints sweet lady.... ~Joy

Liz said...

Amen to that.

Anonymous said...

A just tribute to those three wonderful people. As the "crazy family" prepares to gather for yet another Christmas party, I recall some other saints who have passed our way:
Daddy (Uncle Frank) 1911-1981, Mother (Aunt Helen) 1914 - 1998, Cousin Jimmy (the equal of David in his wildness who also departed much, much too early at age 19), Aunt Marie (aka Peggy), Uncle Cecil, Aunt Mildred (aka Nooney), and Cigar-chewing Uncle Champ. May God rest their souls.

MaryB said...

Thanks, Joy and Liz. Joy, I'm probably on someone's list of "people out of their minds." I'm not feeling very saintly today. :-)

Yes, Cuz - I especially thought of the other "Bully Bartow" sisters as I wrote this. Imagine what that heavenly reunion was like! And yes, may God rest all their sweet souls.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sis! and Cuz for your salutes to our "saintly" family.
Though I am still having trouble picturing "cigar chewing Uncle Champ" as a saint. Although it does make me smile.

MaryB said...

Bro - yeah, I was having trouble picturing that myself, but I figure Champ and George Burns are off in some cigar-smokin' hazy part of heaven enjoying their stogies.

Elsie said...

What a wonderful post. You surely have been blessed. Thank you for reminding me to take time to remember all the saints who have touched my life.

Jay Branum said...

Both of your parents were wonderful people , and did achieve sainthood along with others who put up with all of us over those formative years. David was the original cool guy who was always looked up to. We all needed the guidance whether we wanted it or not.

MaryB said...

Thanks, Elsie - yes, indeed I've been blessed. Now, go out and be thankful for your blessed ones, as well!

Jay - Thanks so much for your kind words about Mother and Daddy. Yes, David was the ultimate Joe Cool.

Anonymous said...

David really wanted to be known as a "Hood"... (remember that term?)
but hoods road motorcycles not MoPeds. So I guess "Joe Cool" was close... Mother wouldn't let him be a "Hood".

I'm still smiling about Uncle Champ. Thanks Cuz... made my week!

chux said...

a nice way to remember these ones Mary!