Monday, November 06, 2006

"It's Three O'Clock in the Morning"

How's that for an original title for this posting? Picked that cause I realized, yeah, that's what time it is and also, because when I thought of that, the melody to the darned song by that name started rolling around in my head too.

I think I am getting more than a little weird in my dotage.

Actually, I woke up due to a combination of issues - the damned shingles (the one in the middle of my back) went into pain activity - plus I've been fighting a head cold since Friday night now and the stuffiness also woke me up. What a combination there!

I hate head colds. Time was when I rarely got one. But this makes the second one this year now I do believe. Ok, maybe that isn't all that many to some folks but it's two more than I really care to deal with in my life.

After I took my pain pill now and logged in on the computer, it dawned on me too that I didn't post anything to my blog all day yesterday. And, I don't want anyone to think I am getting quite that senile as yet that I'm forgetting to do things I sort of vowed I would try to do on a daily basis. So here I am, and this is my makeup blog for not posting anything on Sunday.

Yesterday was really a nice day. The family had visitors, which made it a special event for us. My cousin Karen and her husband Jon stopped by on their way back home after spending the weekend down outside of Hershey, PA. They live north of here in Jamestown, NY. Normally, we only get to see each other at our family reunion the last weekend in July and this year, that didn't happen because Karen and JOn left town in mid or late June and didn't return home till the end of August. They took a trip that had to be a dream of a lifetime - drove cross-country through Canada and up into Alaska. Wouldn't you just love to be able to have the time as well as the finances to take a trip like that? I know, I sure would!

Well, I did see Karen and Jon last month when my son and I drove up to Corry, PA for the funeral of my aunt. Corry is only about 30 miles from Jamestown so it was no problem for Karen and Jon to get over there for the funeral, along with their daughter, Julie. And, although the circumstances for being together were not what we would have preferred, it was still nice to see them there and have a chance to chat a few minutes then anyway.

Let me explain the relationship between Karen and myself too before I move on - Karen's grandfather was a brother to my grandfather so we are I guess third cousins? I get confused when trying to figure out the cousin linage. I know how we are related and that's all that is important to me. Because Karen's grandparents and my grandparents were very close plus Karen has also always been one of the cousins of my extended family who very much supports our family reunion, we then are closer than I am with some of my other cousins in the family. Anyway, needless to say, it was a pleasant time spent over a cup of coffee to touch base a little bit more with them.

About 15 minutes after they left, I got a phone call then from another cousin - but this one is a first cousin. My cousin Nancy. Her dad was my Mom's oldest brother. Nancy is also the first grandchild to our grandparents too, so she is kind of like the matriarch now of our branch of the Eld Family, that being the Adolph Eld group. (Karen's family branch is the Oscar Eld group.) Nancy had called last week while i was still in the hospital to check up on me and had told my son, who took the call, that she would be calling again soon to find out how I made out with the surgery and all.

She and her husband, Howard, live in Latrobe, PA and over the past 15 years or so, we have gotten much closer than we were before. Probably due to the fact that Nancy and Howard also have become strong supporters of our family reunion too once again. Back in 1950, when my Mom's generation - her first cousins and the few of my grandfather siblings still living then decided to organize the Eld Reunion, Nancy's Dad was one of the relatives who really pushed to get the reunion off the ground, up and running and always made sure he was at each and every annual event until his death in 1967.

Which brings me to a memory point here - Nancy's dad, my Uncle Bert and his wife, Aunt Nellie. What a pair they were!

The had five children in all - Nancy, Carl, Joan, Ray and Dave - and today only four of them are still living. Cousin Dave, the baby, shot himself in March of 1982. Such a shock, such a loss there. He had been married, was separated at the time he took his life, but had three beautiful little girls he left behind. Dave was really such a sweetheart too although I was probably about 18-19 years old before I accepted him completely and got closer to him because prior to that, I always regarded him as being the spoiled brat baby of Uncle Bert's family and his brother, Ray, who is the same age as me always ended up taking heat for things Dave did. Or so it seemed to me anyway.

But, I digress. Uncle Bert - and what he was like. I've tried and tried to describe him to my kids so they would get a feel maybe what he was like. He was probably about 6 foot tall and a little broader across the shoulders and middle than the other two uncles (Ralph and Clarence) were. He tended to be quieter than his brothers too but he always had one thing about him that stands out in my mind, in my memories. He had this great big smile that always crossed his face as soon as he saw any member of the family!

I remember especially when I was 19 and was living and working in St. Louis but had decided I was coming back east. I had applied for a job with the FBI and been notified I was being hired and had a date when I was to report to headquarters in Washington, D.C. to start my employment with that organization. Before anyone reading this gets the idea I was some hot shot FBI agent or some such, no way. I was hired to be a lowly fingerprint technician - one of the world's worst jobs ever!

But, I had given my notice at the job in St. Louis, boarded a bus that would take me back to central PA for about a week before I had to go to D.C. And, the bus took me into Pittsburgh where in the middle of the night, Uncle Bert came from his home outside of Pittsburgh (Monroeville) to meet me and take me to their house to spend the night and the next day, I would board another bus that would get me back home to Philipsburg where Mom would pick me up then.

As I walked through the terminal, looking around for him, once I saw him - and he spied me - I will never ever forget that smile as he picked up his pace and almost ran to meet me. Throwing his arms around me in a big hug, it was just the greeting I really needed at that time, at that place.

He and Aunt Nellie, his wife, were also my Godparents plus he was very devoted to his parents, (my grandparents) and they usually, when I was a kid, would make a trip from Monroeville to Grassflat once, sometimes twice a month. In January and February, because the roads might be pretty nasty with snow and ice, they might not make the trip during those months, but you could be sure, just as soon as there was a break in the weather, they would show up here for a weekend visit.

So, because of that, plus my cousin Ray being only three days younger than me, I was around them a lot more than some of my other family members and Ray and I were especially close as kids. For about 20 some years, while Ray and his wife and family were constantly moving about with transfers from the company Ray worked for, we lost contact during that time period. But, over the past ten years, and especially since 1999 when I got my first computer, we have come back together again and now, Ray and I are very close. We used to talk on the computer via instant messenger almost daily but now that he has two little grandchildren that he babysits for, he isn't able to do the daily chats like we used to do.

Ray surprised me greatly last month too when I had to go to Pittsburgh to have a colonoscopy and cat scan done at Presbyterian Hospital and he showed up at the hospital in the hallway as they were wheeling me back to recovery from having had the colonoscopy! What a surprise it was to see his face - and that smile, just like his dad's there to greet me! This was even more astonishing too because you see, Ray lives now in Indianapolis but that week, he and his wife, Mary Ann, were visiting in Pittsburgh and staying at a hotel within walking distance of the hospital but I never expected he would venture over and come spend about 2 hours visting with me and my daughter, Carrie and her fiance, Robert that day! What a shock. But sure was one of the most pleasant surprises I have ever had in my entire life too, I must say.

Ok - time for me to go back to bed now as I can feel the effect of the pain pill I took starting to take hold, making me a bit drowsy again so maybe I can manage to get a few more hours of sleep in and get a little rest from the head cold in the process too!

From time to time, when I post here, no doubt I will slowly introduce any readers to the rest of my extended family. It's the most important factor in my life for sure cause without family, what are we? Alone and nothing, is my opinion.

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