I decided to go and walk into the old hidden graveyard and I was shocked to find a new gravestone! I had no idea that people could still be laid to rest in that very small, very old cemetery under the oaks and dogwoods.
But yes, I suppose it is possible and there is Mr. Lastinger's headstone with a fall wreath propped up on it. There are other Lastingers there and I looked up this particular member of the family and found his obituary here.
I did not know Mr. Lastinger. I rather wish I had, reading the words about him, the way one person in the guestbook referred to him as "the consummate kind of gentleman."
I walked on home, the wind still with me and finished the laundry and cooked some beans and took a shower and went to town and Lily and the boys and I met May at the mall so I could buy my husband some new underwear which should be so easy but somehow, never is. The styles, the colors, the sizes. I always buy his underwear at J.C. Penny's. Don't ask me why. I just do. The boys played in the little luridly colored play area in the center of the mall and Owen made a friend and they raced around, chasing each other and being merry. Gibson, too, was so happy to be there in such a small place with other children. It's like a kid-zoo there. You can go and observe different varieties of the species, skin colors and personalities, curly-haired children and straight-haired children, the bold ones, the fearless ones, the shy ones, the tired ones. Their mamas sit on the benches and drink coffee and talk on the phone and one mama was nursing her little one and Gibson stood and watched her, perhaps in wonder that other children get that special treat from their mamas as he does from his.
"May-May!" both of the children cried over and over. "Watch this!" said Owen. "Watch this, watch this, watch this!" They jumped and they flew and they crawled and we all grew hungry and went and had late Mexican lunch, sitting outside in the warm sun and Owen showed us how to walk like a penguin and Gibson ate a plate of rice.
It was lovely and I had no meanness left in me at all and Gibson walked with me and May to the lady's room, holding my finger the way he does, and washed his hands in the Talavera pottery sink and dried them off on the paper towel and we walked back to the table, his hand gripping mine again.
I went to the grocery store, I came home and took the sweet-smelling sheets off the line and folded them into the basket along with the clothes and the napkins and I put the groceries away and made up the bed and here I am. Here I am. A day which started so hard, so very, very hard, ended up being quite sweet.
And I have the boys tomorrow and Thursday and Friday and they are spending the night on Saturday. Lily told me today that Gibson is sleeping through the night so well and I swear he looked at me and grinned like, "Ah, but for you, MerMer, I will stay up through all the hours of darkness to amuse you!"
And Owen has decided to earn money to buy his helicopter-saurous which sounds like an excellent idea to me. His mother bought him a wallet at the Country Dollar store the other day and he is tucking his bills away in it like a little miser and we are already considering what he can do at my house to earn money. So far we've come up with sweeping the porch (which he is pretty good at) and giving me a foot massage, which I hear he is NOT so good at but I will pay for a good attempt.
I am waiting on my husband to get home and I'm about to go and chop apples and celery and nuts for a sort of Waldorf salad and it's only 6:28 but it feels like at least two hours later and I swear I'll stop talking about the time change soon.
I am glad I did not jump off a bridge this morning and I am glad I did not give in to despair but walked it away with the help of the wind and that I visited the old cemetery to see that there is a new resident. Not that I'm glad Mr. Lastinger died, but that if he had to (which I suppose he did), that he has such a peaceful and beautiful place in the woods in which to rest his bones forever, as fine a place to end up as any, I think. A place where the rain and the light and the leaves and the speckled shade fall every day and where the stars and moon promenade over in their seasonal dances every night and where the wind can bring whatever it brings, and take away whatever it needs to take, as well.