It's no secret that I love to travel. However, this particular trip wasn't planned and there wasn't any excitement building up to it. I had to return to my childhood home to lay to rest my Dad. I've made this kind of trip twice before, in 2000 for my Sister and in 2003 for my Mom. Each time it was unexpected and very surreal. Each time before I was pushed to grow up, mature a little more. This time was no different. I had hoped the strongest man I had ever known would have pulled through and shown us how strong he is/was. I had told my nephews that I'd really rather come to Louisiana later in the year because it's nasty hot in June/July. I explained to my new employer that I really thought it was going to be ok but that I may need to rush off at any time, not really expecting to do this when I did.As unpleasant and heart breaking a funeral is it still has some moments where you can feel the love and support of family and friends. So many people showed up during the wake that I couldn't visit with them all. My Dad was described as a 'pillar of the community' by so many people and it showed. I spent time chatting with some of his old friends and members of our extended family. Bringing back amazing memories of my youth. Seeing Mrs. Mills, my 2nd grade teacher made me remember walking to school everyday for 12 years. Seeing Mr. & Mrs. Benoit Guidry reminded me of how we'd have our families gather together for dinners and fun. Seeing Pope and Judy Huval reminded me of when my Mom and Dad and myself would all work at the Hungry Hobo and I was reminded by my cousin Pam about how we'd make handmade burgers and my Mom would toss the ground meat at the ceiling in a rebellious move. I saw Mr. Stelly and it reminded me of when my Dad would pick pecans from his trees, I went with him after coming out of the hospital for an emergency appendectomy and Dad would help me move around picking pecans with him.
And then there's "The Sisters". My Dad was 1 of 6 children, he had 3 surviving sisters. Two of them are older than him, one 88 and the other 90. Seeing them remind me of those Sunday drives to visit them. I always felt uncomfortable going but went anyway. I don't know them all that well, maybe it's my own fault. I suspect my Dad understood why I felt the way I did. I know my Mom knew why I didn't like going.
Right now I'm sitting in my childhood home looking around at the place I spent so many years, yes, the house is in a state of disrepair mostly because of neglect and probably from a lack of understanding what to do and funds. It's still very comfortable here. Old furniture and even older pictures on the walls, some covered in a little layer of grimmy dust. The yard is bare except for the 3 trees I planted many years ago. They're the only survivors of my Dad's chainsaw. He basically removed or mowed over everything I had planted over the 20 years I lived here. Mom would cry and ask him why he would do this after the fact. I suspect he just didn't want to do the extra work around the yard, just mow in a straight line and be done with it. After all, it does get to over 100 F here during the summer with crazy levels of humidity. Beyond the trees is the cemetery where I have many relatives including my Mom, Dad and Sister. Dad worked there for 42 years as a care taker, he got the job after my Grandfather retired.
The road we live on has mostly the same people still here. Some new people and most of the homes are still the same. The age level has gotten way up. Trees are bigger and paint has faded and boards have fallen off. Fences have come and gone and most of them are rusted, twisted or rotted. We have 1 new home at the end of the street but it's because what was there burned down a few years ago. The rest of the town still looks the same, the grocery store is still open and there are a couple little businesses that have come and gone.
I'm going to give up my part of the inheritance to my 2 nephews. I think my Mom and Dad would have approved of this. I don't have any real ties to this place except for the memories. The boys need this place more than I do. I can hope they will work things out and get the house back into shape over time and maybe it'll last long enough to where their children will be able to have those great memories I have had.