The family ideal—the cultural, social, and historical values--is the cornerstone of society
Rick Bragg begins his book, Ava’s Man, with a simple profound sentence. “She was old all my life,” he writes in the prologue, referring to his Appalachian grandmother, Ava. I remember that line as I pull on to the shell road that leads us to the top of a hill called Egypt Mountain. It’s here after the deer harvest that my mother’s family--those still around as many good Southern folk of this large family have passed--gather to talk and play and cook. All of us wait our turn to stir in the mashed potatoes to set with the tomatoes, pulled pork, corn, lima beans and a bunch of other stuff. It’s appropriately prepared in a large black caldron for the annual Halloween family gathering that has been charmingly known as the Boo Stew for as long as I can remember.
We’ve mended fences all summer and tended the hogs and raised cattle and October is a time we rejuvenate and enjoy the reaping of a hard summer’s work. And in that workload and daily business of a long hot summer, we sometimes find ourselves in need of repair. We’ve got to mend some fences: the relationship kind.
A large family comes with drama. And some of us are in need of hearing or saying a few more “I’m sorrys” than others might. As the New Year approaches, some of us will need a longer list of resolutions. As my grandfather said as he lay dying, “Son, it’s a short, short journey.” Indeed it is. Regardless of who was in the wrong and who did what to whom, the act of asking and receiving forgiveness must take center stage. Time waits for no one.