February 28, 2011 My “Fried Green Tomato” Weekend
This weekend I went (somewhat last-minute) to visit my Nana. This winter she had fallen, broken her hip, and has had a rough recovery (which is common when you are past your 80’s.) To be gone during the week is to difficult, because we would have to coordinate at least four people to do what I do with the kids alone. This happened to be a free weekend for Alan, so I packed my things and flied out for a fast trip.
My two sisters live in the same town as Nana. My mom had flown out for the week to visit. One of my brothers, who happens to travel much for work, also made the trip since he was “in the area.” Of course I teased him on end about it being a girls weekend, including him with the girls. (I still snicker to myself every time I say it.) I guess that is my way at getting back at him all those years for making me practice wrestling with him.
This summer the family had all traveled out to see our Nana. It is difficult to coordinate all seven of us kids, plus our families together. I guess that’s why we only manage to do it every ten years. (No I take that back. I think it’s been close to twenty.) It’s hard to see the ones you love grow old.
As we were visiting Nana I remembered all the times when we were younger and we would go to the nursing home to visit my great-grandma. As we sat there in her room visiting, I couldn’t help but to think about my own parents as they age. You think, when you are young, that you are invincible and God’s gift to the world. You give little thought to anyone older than you and the full lives they have lived. You take for granted what you could really learn about life from those who have already lived theirs.
It was a nice trip to stop and think about all I have.
Later that day we went back to my sister’s house. My mom had some genealogy that Nana had written down about her family. This is what reminded me most about Fried Green Tomatoes. I didn’t feel the urge to ram a car into another while screaming “To Wanda”, nor did I feel the necessity to dress myself in a cellophane dress. Instead we read through the genealogy together. My mom shared her memories about the family. I learned so much about Nana and her family.
My Great grandfather was from Germany. He had moved to the states when he was a very young man and lived in a community of Germans on his own. (I imagine it would be similar to what us portrayed in the movie “Far and Away.” ) He was very good at business and mathematics. He was a young man trying to raise a family during the time of World War II. (Not an ideal time to live in the States with a German heritage.) They were from the town of Worms (pronounced Vorms), which is where Martin Luther was called after hanging the 39 Thesis to the door.
I also learned that I come from a heritage of homesteaders. My great-great grandparents had moved out west to establish a life and home of their own. That is probably why my siblings and I are so fiercely independent and strong-willed. I should have figured we were homesteaders, because of the part of the country that we were from. It was something I never really gave any thought to, I guess.
Both my great-grandparents (on Nana’s side) had been married three times. My Nana had also been married three times. Of course some of those marriages ended from death. I pray I don’t follow that family tradition.
I could go on and on, but I want to be sensitive about not sharing too much family history. I was enthralled with it, because it seemed like history repeats itself, even to the point that certain family members shared birthdays.
I think my biggest regret is that I didn’t realize (because of my age) how much I could learn.
It was a fantastic weekend to be with those I love the most. I think everyone could use a weekend to stop and reflect on those you love. May I not ever take for granted the gift that God has given to me in my family, even with all its black sheep and less than ideal times. Instead may I cherish each moment in my heart and make the most of my time by sharing the love I have with those that mean the most to me.