Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Down Memory Lane

This past Sunday, Jim and I drove out to Erie, Pa. to join in a special anniversary celebration mass for my aunt and uncle. Not being Catholic, we really didn't know quite what to expect. My cousin from Chicago called and asked if we could come and, of course, we were delighted to be included. We met at my aunt and uncle's home. My Aunt was told we could n't make it and was so very surprised and pleased when we arrived.

Life being what it is, I was the only one present who had been at their wedding. I was two years old and have little, if any, memory of that day. But true to form, my dear aunt told everyone there (again) how I spilled ink on my dress right before the ceremony. Oh, if I only had a dollar (inflation, you know) for every time I've heard that story.

My cousin had made arrangements for us to have a private dining room at a local restaurant for lunch. The private room was a good idea. It is a rare occasion when we are all together and we became a little rowdy as the lunch hour wore on.

Then it was off to church. As I said, we really thought this was a quiet little private mass to honor my aunt and uncle. Little did we know. This mass was for the entire Erie Diocese. There were a total of 131 couples honored that day. The longest married couple were celebrating their 69th year of marriage. Wow!! Each couple was presented with a certificate and a special word from the Bishop. It was really impressive.

Probably the most poignant moment of the day, for me, was the passing of the peace of Christ. My cousins and I went to the reserved pew where my aunt and uncle were seated to kiss them and pass the peace to them. Through my tears I thought how much my mother would have loved to see her baby sister celebrate this most wonderful day. I'm sure all of us were also thinking about just a year ago when we weren't sure whether my uncle would recover from a serious stroke. His recovery has been quite miraculous and made this day even more joyful for all of us.

It was over and we were all lamenting out long drives home. Once cousin to Chicago, grandsons to southern Pennsylvania and Virginia, Jim and I back home to New York. I did manage to get them together for one more picture before we all went our separate ways.

There they are, the children and grand children. There are two great-grandchildren who were unable to be there, but isn't this cool?

As the day ended and Jim and I were on our way back home, I was struck by this thought: "Who do you suppose was careless enough to leave an ink bottle in reach of a two year old anyway?"

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