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Donna Flood
A Little Like Immortality

Merle had spent her life “working hard.”  She was a nurse and didn't mind telling anyone, “I was never sick and off the job. Never.”  There was no doubt in my mind she was telling the complete truth. This was just the kind of person she was.

The now elderly woman had lived with her husband on a successful farm which covered quite a few acres. It was his grandfather's farm. The love of the place was inherited along with the land. The man, Merle's husband, provided well and they enjoyed years of companionship along with raising their children too.

These days were different though. Merle was uncomfortable with living in the far out area after her husband passed away and while a new breed of young people rushed up and down the country road beside her house.

Now,  as she went about closing out her farm house it must have been typical of the way habits and problems were worked through. There was an unhurried attitude. Actually, no one seemed to know when she moved. One day the woman was on the farm and the next day settled into the beautiful if not small house in one of the best parts of town. Her sister offered the home at a fantastic price and Merle made no dilly dallying about accepting the offer. It was as simple as that.

Once in a while she made trips back to the farm her son was now operating and this was known because she made comments about this or that incident. There was only once when she seemed to be a little home sick for the place when she spoke of how the Walnut trees had been so beautiful. She didn't say, “I'll miss them,” but one had the feeling the thought was in her mind.

When she spoke of her grandmother as being Ginger Lee Adams we were caught by the statement. This side of the family was known only by two or three names. They were different sounding names, put together first and second names to be spoken as one which is customary with the southern people.

“Ginger Lee?  That was my grandmother's mother's name and the name also of her sister. Grandmother always said they were related to General Lee, thus “Gingerly” as was spoken of his personality.

As our acquaintance became more and more casual it was discovered there were many names alike. They were unusual names one did not hear that often. There was ParaLee, Charity Lee and so forth and so on.

Furthermore, the woman's own daughter's also had names in agreement with their family.

With more searching and digging it was almost certain in my mind it would be fairly easy to trace a kinship. For the most part at this time the thought of a mysterious connection was more to my liking and I was glad to leave it at that.  Instead, the pleasure of learning of the woman's ways and habits maybe leading back to the people of that line was more of a joy than actually knowing. You will see what I mean.

A month before Thanksgiving Merle called.  “Are you planning to have a meal with anyone on Thanksgiving?”

“No, no. We will probably have hot dogs and sauerkraut here.”  I joked with her as to the menu.

“Why don't you let me cook the meal?”  Merle offered an invitation.

“Are you sure?  I hate to have you go to that trouble just for us.”

Merle insisted. “I'm here by myself. The kids are all tied up with theirs. Why don't you come over?”

“Sounds wonderful to me.”  I took the woman up on her invitation and what a wonderful day we had. Nothing left out or spared. It was a great meal.

During the time we had together more and more personal character traits made me aware of things I had only heard spoken about in the family. They were small things but so strong and striking in performance. If there was a way I could have stepped over the chasm of time to the past it would not have been any better than this association.

All at once the things acted out, carried out, and maybe even a little off  the beaten track happened with the women and myself. Her ways were not strange but somehow compatible.  I found myself a little uneasy with my slow acceptance like  a child wishing to receive  a gift but too on guard  and uncertain to do so. Still, I knew, I felt it to be true that here was the line of people I only knew by name. For those of us who are satisfied with small pleasures let me say this for me is even more than a small pleasure. It was like having my grandmother of that line in my presence. I wanted to know so much about her but not wishing to frighten her away it was my position to go slowly,  to be satisfied with just seeing the acting out of her habits.  Somehow it is a little like having immortality..

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