Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November 1, All Saints Day

A day when I usually spend some time thinking about my godfather, my father's uncle, the humble grocer who is regarded as the family saint. It felt so special to be singled out for his affection when I was little. He was also the family bartender, and he would pick me up and sit me on the counter beside him while he worked. I thought, based on the experience of these family gatherings, that there were only three alcoholic beverages in the world: martinis, Manhattans, and beer. Martinis were served with olives, which were good, but Manhattans came with maraschino cherries, which were even better, and every so often as he worked he would slip me one. Life didn't get any better than that.

My cousin, his daughter, told me a few years ago that she thought he would be proud of the adult I grew up to be, which meant a lot to me. I don't know what he'd think about where things have gone since then, though. It's hard to imagine that the guy who was a quiet, steady presence at the 6:30 a.m. Mass would approve of this Episcopal thing I've got going. Ah, well.

I was trying to explain how all of this feels to a friend who is not religious, and the closest equivalent I could think of was emigration. Among my family and friends there are quite a few people who were born in other countries. They left home for good reasons, and found a place for themselves here. They don't want to go back, but even so, many of them still regard that first country as home. I think I know how that feels.

We grow up, we leave home, and no matter how fondly we may look back on those early days, there's no going back. Ain't nobody gonna pick me up, sit me on the counter, and feed me maraschino cherries again--or at least, they better not try!


At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Lorna said...

you've found God. I think your Godfather would love that.

emigration is a good analogy :)


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