Friday, March 13, 2015
To my son Tommy,
Today we actually bury your Great Grandpa Leo. We will drive a two hour trip up to Cumberland to St. Peter and Paul Cemetery and say the last good byes to the vessel that carried your great granddad's soul. From here on out, we will have to talk to him in our prayers. But I think he might already be talking to us.
With a two hour trip ahead and no idea how wet the cemetery grounds are, the question of whether to wear a suit or not came up. At first I thought your great grandfather was being interred in the same cemetery as your Great Great Grandma Pauline Kidwell. All I remember of that cemetery, when we your great grandparents brought up her ashes from Florida, was a bunch of walking and a big huge hill. I was later told that it was a different cemetery but still worry about how sloppy the grounds might be in addition to the two hour drive. There is no right answer here and each person will make their own choice, but after discussing with your mom we decided on comfort today.
Even though it makes much more sense, I was still feeling a bit bad about the decision. Suiting up was a way to honor your great grandpa. Soon, however, my mind switched focus and started pondering some memories of your Great Grandpa Leo. I remembered the time he and I went to the grocery store and he took a chiquita banana sticker off the nearest banana and put it straight in the middle of his forehead. People would walk up to him and alert him to this fact and he would politely thank them and explained he knew without expounding. They would walk away perplexed and, being the teen or pre-teen I was, I would slink behind him a bit more mortified than before. When I got home, I ran to my dad and my uncles and told them of this craziness. They laughed and told me I was lucky because when they were younger, THEY had to wear the stickers in the grocery.
So re-armed with the lesson from my youth, I pulled on my jeans, determined yet again to not let my appearance define me. I pawed the shirts your mom left out on the bed and though they were great suggestions, I didn't find anything that I wanted to wear. I approached my closet, dove into the middle, and the first shirt I find is a guayabera style shirt, that may have even come from your great grandfather's personal collection. It was settled. I put on the shirt and looked in the mirror, and I imagined myself with a white flop hat and those blu-blocker type sunglasses that go over your regular glasses, and all of a sudden the man in the looking glass was my grandfather with a big grin and I could almost hear him say, "Good on ya boy." I grabbed my rosary and dropped it in the front lower pocket of my shirt to complete the suit up process. Wonder if I can find some chiquita banana stickers for our foreheads.
Sincerely with love from your dad,