We Wish the Guy Who Knew the Words Was There

It’s already a blazing day and only 8:30 am as I sit typing in a very cool cafe by the Delaware River in Lambertville, NJ.  My niece is the manager here, and I’m meeting my sister and my cousin for some sort of work out.  Not sure exactly what she has in mind but I’m up for it.

We drove down here to Jersey to say good bye, officially, to my dad’s last brother, Robert. It is the second part of his funeral ceremony after the first funeral up in New Hampshire.  It must be tough to say goodbye to so many people when you reach a certain age…so many funerals and memorials, and people who you no longer see.

Last night at dinner I was joined by all three of my sisters and mom and dad who we call Vally and Bumpy.  The long table was lit with candles, and it felt good to be home again, home in the house where I grew up.  We sang a few songs, show-tunes from The Music Man, and tried to remember the words. Parts of the song were hums, filling in the gaps, and we thought about our cousin Chris who knew every verse, but sadly, passed away earlier this year.

Life is this continuum, this moving river, with people like Chris dropping away, and youngsters coming into their own to fill the void. My six-year-old niece Greta decided to be our waitress, and took orders for dessert, using a little pad to write it all down. She delighted when someone suggested she ask for tips–I gave her a dollar coin, and she slipped it into her pocket.  Someday she’s gonna know the words; she’ll sing with us as a grown up, and maybe we’ll think back, way back, to when she served us dessert as a small child. She’s filling in the gaps left by those who have gone by.