Arching way back

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.

Fast Forward.

Forty plus.

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.

2009 Vanderburg visit


6 Responses to “Arching way back”

  1. July 29, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I loved this this recounting of the past and how it works its way into the present. These much be really special folks to have taken their volunteer job so seriously. This whole story feels so right and is comforting in times when social comfort is hard to find. Thank you.

    • July 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      So glad to hear how you think about this, Bill. Tis a gift to get your response, your take on how it came across to you. I am grateful for your listening. And need to spend some time reading and learning in your neck of the woods, the other lady bug. I feel the same way reading yours – good to hear about positive interactions, and about people who pay attention and care about the web of living beings.

  2. July 29, 2011 at 7:25 am

    C.C.: Beautiful reflection and so natural that the Vanderburgs and your family came, come together. “Arching” is a well-chosen word. It is an arc, isn’t it? That reaching back, and coming forward, and the memories musically chanted every year. I looked up “ramada,” and “living the old dry ramada,” is that interior inscape we all have that holds the current family and those L O N G gone. Bill is so right. Social comfort is hard to find.

    We have been dry as a bone here. You have too from what I see although have the monsoons brought rain? Thank you for commenting on my blog. I have had a bad summer a lot — good times though some — and haven’t blogged as much as I have wanted.

    • July 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      Ahh, Jack – thank you for your perceptive comments. What great camaraderie you and Bill provide over here – so civilized and soulful. I do understand about needing a break from keeping in touch. I am sorry to hear you have had “bad summer a lot.” Know you had a very hard winter/spring – one agonizing thing after another. Here’s hoping there will be a lift off your shoulders. Your posts inspire me to no end.
      In solidarity,

  3. August 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    It’s a way of life nearly gone now, in some parts of the country, some towns. Getting together every Sunday, going to church every week, having the same ice cream, the same wonderful sauces – the presence of so much repetition and routine in life is boring, “they” say. And yet, our refusal of routine can be a refusal of those blessed “ties that bind”. The search for novelty can lead to insecurity. Or so I think.

    In any event – how I envy you, and your compadres. The woman who would have filled that role for me also died this summer, only a month apart from my mother. Such irony – both of them 93, both of them cared for by their children at home, both felled not so much by disease as by long, good life.

    And here’s an irony – I have two photos of them, from the summer of 1947. They were taken on one of our family’s trips to Kentucky, to visit. In one photo, Mom and Ruth are in the backyard, each wtih a spoon, eating homemade vanilla ice cream. Mom’s polite, with a bowl. Ruth? Not so much – the freezer was good enough for her.

    Such a lovely reminiscence – thank you for stirring my own memories.

    • August 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      Hugest loss this summer for you. I enjoyed hearing about the photo of them both eating ice cream – long live synchronicity!

      ‘felled … by long, good life ‘ – am glad to hear of it. Thanks so much for commenting, shoreacres.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

clay & log posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12 other followers


%d bloggers like this: