This past weekend, was a whirlwind of events, emotions, and family time.
I come from a large family.
Literally, we have hundreds of 2nd cousins, whom I've barely met.
Some I know (cousins) better than others. But, sadly with a family this size, the time spent together (minimal) is disproportionate to it's size.
My Grandfather had 9 brothers and a sister.
My Grandmother had 4 sisters and 5 brothers.
This makes for HUNDREDS of Second cousins. (if not thousands)
On Saturday, my Grandmother's side of the family, had a family picnic at Johnson Park, in New Brunswick NJ. It was a GREAT EVENT, with family coming together from around NJ, and throughout the eastern US. As with any family, the older generation passes on, and are replaced by all the children, and grandchildren -- and great- grandchildren.
But, my Great Aunt's and Uncles - who were NOT there, because they had died -- WERE REALLY THERE more than ever, in spirit. To see my Uncle Harry's, GREAT GRANDCHILDREN was a blessing.
To see, my Uncle Eddie's GREAT grandchildren was heartwarming.
(I am only naming 2 but, there are many many more)
You see, I SEE MY UNCLE's faces in these young children. I see their kindness in the 4 year old GREAT GRANDCHILD of my Uncle.
I see GOOD, KIND, ENERGY -- that would make Uncle Alex proud of his GREAT grandchildren.
My GREAT UNCLES and GREAT AUNTS, all worked so hard to provide a life for their children to excel in the United States. They were first generation Americans, who labored -- and taught the kids how to, respect and love -- and be yourself.
We have teachers, bankers, technologist, pharmaceutical all stars, doctors, fashion designers, beer guys, bikers -- and YES - internet guys (like me) -- from this plethora of DNA.......
Together too infrequently, but GROVE 1, at the park, is alright by me.
It was a GREAT -- FAMILY DAY. Saturday in the Park......Eddie,Helen,Alex,Julius were smiling up in heaven.
The very next day, we had a funeral.
My grandfather's brother Charles Mironov. passed away.
He was one of 10 children....and a younger brother to my Grandfather, Bernie.
"Uncle Charlie" - as he was known to me, had a bellowing, hearty laugh (HE always found his own jokes and one-liners to be funniest of all) -- and always a smile, and a question for one of his nephews,(me)..
"Andrew, what's the good word?"
"Andrew, you working hard, or hardly working?"
Followed by his smile, and a buttered hard roll, in the kitchen of the family farm.
He was a SOLID, STRONG, and HONEST MAN.
Standing at the cemetary, watching his families emotion, I was overcome by feelings of hope -- and saw the, "wheel of life at work."
I was watching Uncle Charlie's GREAT GRANDCHILDREN, and grandchildren -- playing in the grass, and teeming with good energy -- they had HIS SPIRIT.
The Mironov Brothers are a "Hall of Fame" Group. Their accomplishments are too many to name, but let me tell you -- more than anything they did in building a HUGE business, (they were successful dairy operators) -- they were the definition of GOOD PARENTS.
They passed the most crucial gene known to man, to their offspring. The ability to be a good, loving, caring parent.
What could be more important?
I saw it, AT A FAMILY PICNIC - AND A FUNERAL.
Driving home - I cried and listened to music. The Song, Franklins Tower was on my stereo.
Courtesy of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter:
"God help the child who rings that bell
It may have one good ring left, you can't tell
One watch by night, one watch by day
If you get confused just listen to the music play"
It hit me.
My older family is passing on. It was what I KNEW. It was MY WORLD growing up. They were MY COMFORT ZONE.
Now, we need to have more family picnic's for our departed Aunt's and Uncles. It's the only place WE CAN SEE THEIR SPIRITS COME ALIVE. (in our children)
A family picnic and a funeral -- at the crossroads of this thing called, LIFE.