You see, these people are my compadres. In Spanish, that means godparents. When I was still young, I remember my mother telling me that the Vanderburgs would be the folks that would take care of me if they would die. They had considered others. But had settled on this couple – a family we had been close with for many years. I know my feeling upon hearing this was of deep relief.
At that young age, some say tender (I say definitely I was purely myself), we know what is right. I know I was a picky person then. Hell to go shopping with – I would not go for just any dress. It had to be just right. Like the grey flannel jumper that I picked and remember wearing again and again. I remember saying no to ruffles again and again.
So, when I heard that this family would be the family that would take over as being parents if my parents would die, I felt happy. Sometimes I thought, maybe Nancy could be a bit strict. But for the most part, the youngster that was me felt like they would take care of us in a similar enough way to how our parents did. My sis was so close with one of their daughters, and I was close to their oldest. We hung out a lot, many Sunday afternoons in our backyard swimming, sometimes with other families. They would bring over homemade vanilla ice cream. I remember at least one time that we made homemade fudge sauce on the stove with our bathing suits on – poured it thin and hot on the homemade vanilla ice cream that they brought over. After spending the afternoon playing Marco Polo, Bass and Minnow, pool baseball and dodgeball.
We were together every Sunday in the evenings at church, singing folk songs, listening to poetic homilies. We traveled together on vacations in the summer to New Mexico. Later on, our parents had grand adventures exploring mesas with ruins, or small town plazas, or road trips to mines, or to secret areas where particular types of rock formations formed to make collections, or to places to eat and drink together. We could make a goodly list – the many particular places or people or habits we have in common from our past.
These two people, Nancy and Vance, visit us on a yearly basis. Now, our parents have been L O N G gone: 21 and 31 years. Without us really taking notice of this, they have stepped into their requested role. But who even knows if they remember our parents asking them. Simply, they visit us once a year, every summer. For a simple meal. They listen to each of our stories, to stories from each of our offspring, from their mates, and then, delight in the newest generation of wee ones.
Arcing back is a wonderful gift. To parent-starved folks like us, we relish their visits – our offspring equally cherish their coming. Compadres true, they know the old stories our parents used to tell.
“Live the old dry ramada.”