everybody's looking for something

Obsidian Kitten has just returned from a journey to her southern homeland and a reunion with friends and faces of the past.

The Georgia coast is still hot and humid, "sweet tea" is still never Snapple, crabs and shrimp still come off the boat (not out of a freezer), and voices remain, as always, soft, caressing, and familiar.

I travelled with some baggage, and left much of it there.

Returning home, I think of my 87-year-old grandmother, who is not from Georgia, but from Pennsylvania Dutch country. Her eldest son (and my favorite uncle) died last year, as did my grandfather (and her husband of 60+ years). She lives alone in the house my father grew up in, tending her tomatoes and roses and her enormous grape arbor. She is lonely now, and so much thinner than I remember.

"All my friends are dead," she says, her perfectly white hair still always perfectly set.

This is not remorse, or self-pity. It is a statement of plain fact.

She had been in a sewing circle with the same group of friends for over six decades. These women have all passed away. Her brothers. Parents. The neighbors she knew. The customers in the grocery store her family ran for more than thirty years on Main Street. The women she traded recipes with at church picnics. All gone now.

My grandmother remembers all of their names, and many of their children's names (although she would not recognize the grown children now, with the children and grandchildren of their own). And she can tell stories about many of them, who talked funny, who practiced pow-wow, who was in a tragic accident, who moved to Florida, who had their hip replaced, who lost their husband in the war. She remembers everything, and is writing it all down.

But the people are all gone. Her friends really are all dead now.

Most--though not all--of my friends are still living. And many of us were kissed by the sweet, salty southern ocean breeze last weekend.

I am very blessed in this.


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