Friday, May 27, 2011

end time events

When Gina and I were married (September 1, 1990) we relocated to Bowling Green, KY.  We were working off of one car that day.  Gina had to see some patients at a nursing home and I needed to get a Kentucky driver's license at the court house.  Gina dropped me off at the court house and drove off.

I had to wait a while before I was eventually picked up by my bride.  Gina pulled up to the curb and I got in.  She immediately asked to see my new license.  She wanted to see the photo.  The light had turned green and she was holding up traffic.  I urged her to move along, that there was nothing to see.

Nothing to see?  "I want to see what your license looks like."  I encouraged her to drive and I would explain it to her.  As she drove, I told her that the State of Kentucky was doing something entirely innovative and new.  I told her that the DOT was modeling a new system of identification/licensing for the entire nation that didn't require a card.

Gina listened.  She just wanted to see my new license.  I told her that she couldn't see it with her naked eye.  The more I explained, the quieter she became.   I told her that even though she couldn't see it - I did get a license.  I got a permanent number.  I could tell that she was all the more puzzled as I explained it to her.  I told Gina that the number was imprinted on my hand, but could only be seen by infrared light.  I told her that it was a great idea because you can't ever lose the number like you could lose a billfold.  I explained the benefits of having this personal bar code mark in great detail and with believable enthusiasm.

She made an illegal U-turn.  I asked her what she was doing.  She told me that we were going back to the Warren County Court House to have them take it off!  I laughed and told her that it couldn't be removed - that it's permanent.  I'll have it till the day I die.  I can't explain the look she had on her face.  She turned white and looked ill.  She stopped the car and freaked out. "David, what have you done!"

It was at that moment I pulled my new drivers license out of my wallet and showed it to her.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

a good time for a story

A few weeks ago we buried our uncle Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson.  A few years ago we made the same trip to Cheraw, South Carolina to say good-bye to Pat's older brother James Murdoch Finlayson.  While at the old St. David's Church, I remembered a Thanksgiving Day back in 1997 that all the Burruss & Jennie Wait descendants met in Cheraw for a family reunion.  It was a little over ten years ago.  The three remaining siblings, Pat, Murdoch, and Jennie Llew met us there.  It was a beautiful day for such a gathering.  We spent a leisure weekend there walking around the old township, driving down old neighborhoods and visiting the cemetery at the Old St. David's Church.  Everywhere we went, we paid close attention to catch a shared memory among the last of Burruss' children.  This is where they grew up. 

There is an old Confederate memorial there in the quiet of the Old St. David's Church.   I read where originally the monument did not mention Confederate soldiers because the area was still occupied by Union forces.  Cheraw has a lot of Civil War history.  After all,  the first call for secession in a public meeting was made at the Chesterfield County Courthouse. John A. Inglis of Cheraw introduced the resolution for South Carolina to secede. General Sherman later occupied the area, but didn't strike a match. There was a terrible fire that burned down much of the downtown district because of an accidental munitions explosion.  The Yankees of course were to blame, but it was an accident.  Sherman and his troops had taken a liking to town's charm.

The Old St. David's Church was used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops during the course of the war.  The church was also used as a hospital for the British during the Revolutionary War.  It's a very small town with abundant history.

The Confederate monument reads:

"To the memory of our heroic dead who fell at Cheraw during the war 1861-1865.  Loved and honored though unknown.  Stranger, bold champion of the South, revere and view these tombs with love; Brave heroes slumber here, Loved, and Honored, though unknown."

It was there at the monument where I found my uncles Pat and Murdoch standing together talking.  After spotting them it took me several minutes to reach them.  At the time I had no idea as to the significance of the monument or the spot where they were standing.  The way there were standing there made me wonder what they were talking about at that moment.

When I reached them they were just standing there close together in quiet thought.  I asked them what they had been talking about.  Both smiled while looking reflectively at the monument.  They both shared the story, interrupting with their own memories of Memorial Day's past.  They told how when they as children would march from their school to this monument with roses.  When they arrived, they would all scatter the peddles around the white marble obelisk, singing a special song for the occasion.

There were orations, choirs, and special guest - it was a very big day each year in Chesterfield County.  It was a tradition that started on Memorial Day of May 10, 1867.  The tradition ended in 1961.

But there was more to the telling.  Pat and Murdoch told me not only of those days but about the old Confederate veterans who were in attendance, quietly standing among children.  Murdoch looked at me and said that as children, those veterans seemed so old to us back then.  Now we are the old soldiers standing here.

That was my favorite moment during our reunion.

Finlayson Family Reunion 1997, Cheraw, South Carolina

Monday, May 2, 2011

long drive through a short weekend

Nothing much to say about this weekend.  We checked the kids out from school and drove-drove-drove.  The kids are great travelers.  We arrived around midnight at my sister Jennie's house in Fort Mill, SC.

There we hooked up with other family members, Mom, Brooky & Cindy.  Not much time to visit with each other...short or chopped-off conversations.  Little time to really  rest during the weekend.

We drove to Pat's funeral at Old St. David's Church.  It was a beautiful morning to see Pat off.  I took about 15 minutes to walk around downtown Cheraw with Katie.  There was little time for anything, but appreciative for the moments that I had.

We had to make too many stops back home to Alabama on Sunday.  We arrived in Etowah County as the sun was setting.  It was a good sleep last night after returning home.  I am very tired though...very tired.

While driving home I kept thinking how much I will miss uncle Pat.  We will no longer e-mail each other, no longer write each other, no longer talk on the phone.  Like my father - I will no longer see his sweet smiling face on this Earth again.  I will see him one day though.
Pat & Westbrook Finlayson