There are only two (in that branch, of that generation) left. Who will be first? One of these is my Dad. He is over eighty years old. I wonder if he still runs on the property where he lives. He used to run six miles a day. He'd take Vitamin E and Vitamin C. He'd eat a can of tuna a day. Sometimes he'd brag about his fitness. He'd try to get me to run again. I havn't run since the birth of my child. Dad was convinced he could run faster than me. I don't believe this for a minute.
Madelyn is the only girl in the group. She is the elder of the two surviving children of the miner's daughter. She used to wear pink frost lipstick in the sixties, when frosts were the rage. She wore her hair in short brunette curls. She was comely. All Ellen's children were comely. Those defined dark eyebrows, especially, distinguished the children of that generation. I think the brows were inherited from the father's side. The father had deep blue eyes to go along with his dark hair and brows. In his youth he was striking. Madelyn, the daughter, was striking. She used to paint Christmas scenes on store windows to make extra money. Art talent seemed to run in the family. Madelyn possessed it. She was easy to know. She smiled a lot. Her eyes smiled too.
I say these things today because it has occurred to me that they are saying goodbye. When I realized that, I could not get it out of my head. The process of saying goodbye may take years. They are on their way. They go a little at a time. They wait their turn. They walk. They go round the corner. And you never see them again. Saying goodbye is like saying something to the wind. It doesn't make any difference. They will go when they will go. They determine the time. They say goodbye of their own volition. Only they know what's right. It is your duty to accept that goodbye. You will be told goodbye nevertheless. They are saying it. They are walking slowly but they are on their way. They have had their turn upon the earth.
I have had occasion to think about what will happen to them when they are gone. Where will I put Dad? He has always had nightmares. You do not put a father who has nightmares in the cold dark earth. This seems wrong to do. He will say goodbye. But I will never know how scared he is. I believe he will trust my sister to place him. She will not do so properly. She will be cheap. She will treat her father poorly and give him very little. I think it likely he will be at the old family grounds, where his parents are. They left so long ago. It was another world then. Dad is of the new generation. No one knows where they should go. That generation has moved beyond. They have been modern. They drove. They worked in cities. Dad was an electrician in Communications. He will say goodbye through one of those telephones which it was so easy for him to hook up to the wall. The cord may be only cloth (the antique ones were), but it carries the sound. Dion't go don't go. I hear the cry. I know the truth. He cannot go. He is afraid. I wish he knew that I knew this. He is saying goodbye. He is in his eighties. It has been their turn, building, building families, talking, burning rubber, doing the right things the wrong things. Everyone says goodbye we're made to before we are really ready.
They are waiting in the sky in line weighing nothing they are in line we all go in line we don't do our duty but we get in that line and say the goodbye that has taken forever. Signed G. E. Claire. Copyright 2011 by G. E. Claire. All rights reserved by the author. ><