Last Monday a neighbor of mine died. She was quite old and was in hospice care and her daughters were with her when she died. One of them told me that she was holding her mother's hand when she passed on to that other realm and that she simply fell asleep and slipped away.
Wouldn't we all want that?
There was a gathering at the mother's house today. She lived catty-cornered across the street from me and I am ashamed to admit that I really did not know her well. I spent the most time with her at a few meetings of the Lloyd historical society when that was happening, quite a few years ago. The main figurehead of that group died a while back and there have been no more meetings.
Lloyd's history has continued but without ceremony or comment for the most part.
Anyway, I know this woman had been a professor and she was an interesting person. Obviously very intelligent and she seemed to be involved in a lot of good things like the Wildlife Federation and I don't even know what good deeds she did but I do believe she was a good-deed-doer.
She was also pretty. She wore her hair up in an unusual way which I admired and have no idea how to replicate. Her daughters are beautiful women and they, too, both wear their hair up and one of them has a tattoo on her neck but I could not tell what it was.
But like I said, I hardly knew Pat. She rarely came out to her front yard and I spend most of my time in my own back yard or on my back porch and we just never really made that jump from neighbor to neighbor-friend. It's not something I need dwell on. It is what it is or rather, it was what it was and strangely, one of the daughters claimed that her mother spoke so highly of us. I suppose that may have just meant that we didn't cause disturbances and we didn't let our house go completely into disrepair or let our yard turn into a bamboo jungle.
I don't know.
But we were invited to a little gathering at her house today which was to be held from 4-6 and of course we went. "Very informal," said the beautiful daughter without a tattoo. Or at least not one on her neck. No one said anything about food but southern etiquette no more allows one to attend any event involving death without the bringing of food than it would allow one to attend in the nude.
It is just not done.
So I decided to make a quiche, having an abundance of eggs and so forth and so I did. I tried a different pastry recipe, one that is made using a food processor and at first I thought I was going to have to throw the whole thing out but eventually I managed to wrangle the dough into a rollable substance and it turned out nicely. I asked my husband, even as I was cooking red peppers and onions if anyone really likes quiche at all. Sometimes I wonder, you know? Of course if it has a ton of cheese and bacon in it it's going to be good but cardboard with a ton of cheese and bacon would be good too. I had no bacon and wasn't in the mood to grate pounds of cheese but I sauteed the onions and red peppers and cooked some spinach with sun dried, smoked tomatoes and mixed up eggs and milk and put it all together and it was pretty enough and several people told me they liked it so that worked out.
There were lots of people there including the two daughters. I could swear I'd never seen the daughter with the tattoo in my life but she claims she's known me and Glen for years. I have no doubt she's telling the truth.
Other neighbors whom I do know were there. Some of whom I see fairly frequently, some whom I hardly ever see.
We're all so busy, you know.
There was lots of good food. Homemade pimento cheese and chicken salad on croissants, spinach and artichoke dip with crackers, shrimp, chicken wings, pretty little pastries. All sorts of good things. And the house, which I had never been in, was just a charming place. It was built in 1900 and was so charming. And according to the daughter with no visible tattoo, it has good karma.
I believe that.
We neighbors gathered around and discussed how hard it is to keep our big old houses warm in cold weather and how toasty this smaller one was. One of my neighbors lived in the house I live in now when he was a boy and he told us that when he was little he would wake up and smell the wood stove in the kitchen that his grandma used to cook on. How when he smells a wood stove now he always thinks of that.
It was sweet, that gathering. Quite a few folks were there to celebrate their friend, their neighbor, their former work mate. The sisters were hospitable and friendly, their brother thanked everyone gravely for coming. We looked at pictures of their mother in her younger days and she was always pretty.
Eventually, we made our good-byes and thank-yous and I took my pie plate and we left.
A small but sweet event in Lloyd and I think that Pat would have approved. Everyone said she would have. And now that I think about it, there was not one mention of Jesus or heaven or anything else like that the whole time I was there. Which was a nice relief.
Speaking of gatherings, I am trying to organize one with my family tomorrow. I haven't seen anyone in a week and I miss them all. We're talking about going to lunch at the Hilltop because I don't think I'm up to making a meal for the nine thousand people in my immediate family but I'm sure the kitchen at the Hilltop can handle it.
That's the way it is in Lloyd tonight. It's a bit cold and I'm going to fry up some bass that Mr. Moon caught this morning, early on the frigid Wacissa. I'll make some grits and stewed tomatoes. It's nice to be back in the kitchen.
I'm taking it easy. Death will come to us all, whether we rush about or stroll through life. You see more if you stroll.
That's my thinking at the moment, anyway.
I'm just here, a part of it all, a very small bit of the history of Lloyd and an even tinier, more minuscule part of the universe. So small, in fact, that my presence has practically no meaning to anyone but those closest to me and I am glad of that. It is reassuring. Energy can neither be created or destroyed and when I die, that energy will go somewhere. That's just the truth. I cannot be bothered wondering or worrying about what form that will take. I'd just as soon have it be a nurturing for the trees or food for the fishes. Or worms. Whatever.