Today is the First Day

Today is the First Day November 2, 2021

It’s hard to know what to call this person I know who died today.  He’s my dad’s friend, but I’ve known him since I was around the age of four or five.   He hunted and fished with my dad and my brothers.  He owned dogs.  He married into our family (cousins), and was family in the way that cousins are when kids know there are adult cousins.  We don’t do the family tree, we just say, “He’s a cousin,” and that’s it.  He was one of those adults who played with kids and actually enjoyed our company.

I know today, my dad rejoices to see him. I can see the smiles as they pass around cold beers and talk about great moments at La Belle, or on the boat.   S.J. loved it all, and visits with him were punctuated by my dad and him and others laughing so hard, one wanted to be in on the joke even if you couldn’t be because you weren’t old enough.   To be recalled as heralding laughter, good food, a warm fire and either fishing or hunting ducks is a good legacy for most Texans, for that one.

I don’t have long stories about my dad’s friend.  I just have a long memory of him always being there –being one of “Dad’s friends,” and that meant a lot to Dad, and thus a lot to me.  My brothers have the memories of trying coffee and having frozen feet in the marshes as they waited for duck or geese to fly over.   What I know, is if you are going to pick a feast to enter into Heaven on, it’s hard to beat “All Souls Day.”

All Souls are remembered.  All souls are celebrated.   My mom and sister and her children are praying over the grave sites of cousins and uncles and my dad, remembering each of them fresh.  For me, every year we watch our wedding tape, it becomes more of a witness to the Feast of All Souls.  The eternal wedding feast reveals itself more with each year.   The party we held is nothing compared to what is.

We will miss S.J. but only for the time until we get to be part of the celebration.

In the days to come, there will be stories and gumbo and memories but today, let’s pray for S.J, and for his family here that will miss him, even as he gets to wonder at meeting Jesus face to face.

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