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It was that time of year again. I knew it before I checked the calendar. I knew it before anyone told me. The time of year was the sadness parts and the happiness parts of the year. Seven days. Seven nights. Filled with reminders and comfort.
I started packing two weeks before the day that I left behind by mom, older brothers, sisters-in-law, and baby brother. Leaving the over protectiveness of my oldest brother was relief but leaving my mother and my baby brother I thought of as my son was weighing on my heart heavily.
I thought perhaps that I would tell my dad I changed my mind not to go. But I could not stand the sadness I knew he would feel or my own at not going. Seven days away from those I spent everyday with but loved to be seven days with people I equally love and never see.
The day I left I said bye to my family hoping that all would not fall with me gone. My mom would not have a emergency, my brothers would not get hurt, or my sisters would not fall ill. I thought again perhaps I would not go because if tragedy struck I would rather be here and help the ones i love. But i decided against it knowing the odds were on my side.
My mother playfully kicked me out the housee, my baby brother hugged and kissed me good-bye, and everyone else wished me a good time.
My father and I drove to my grandmothers housee were we slept and ate for the long next day. The next day we meet up with my dad's girlfriend and Maxwell the boy I think of as my brother. My Nana and Tata were going to drive my brother, cousin and his boyfriend, and my sister. My other cousin and his boyfriend were driving alone.
The drive was quite with few stops far between. We drove passing mountains that reminded us of how life was like for the Native Americans, lakes that were as clear as day, and cities big and small that we gawked at just to say we saw them.
The ride there was always the best part. I would read books I brought and look out the window, Max would be on the computer and sleep, my dad and his girlfriend would just talk.
When we arrived to Lemar a town three hundred mile and seven hours away from San Diego but a world away. The town was small but not as small as Holtville were my grandparents lived were you go into town and blink then it is gone behind you. It is big but not as big as San Diego were you could live there your whole life and not know all the wonders it holds. But it is the right size were you could know almost everyone but not know the towns whole mystery.
The housee we pull up to is a simple one white story housee with a basketball court, trampoline, pool table, swing-set, and pool. We are the last to arrive. The house is full with aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and cousin. Cousins reunite that grew up together never mind the hundreds of miles of separation. Brothers and sister gather around and talk about when they were children. Babies get together and wreck havoc.
People in everyday life you would think have social problems be it they have too much friends or not enough come together and have a good time. We laugh and play and we overall have a good time.
But we havoc forget how it all started. At the beginning of this grand family there were five children. Tom (my dad), Harry, Mark, Caren, and Kerrelyn. Not a a decade has past but more the half a decade had gone by that we lost one of them. The man everyone loved and still does has been taken away from us and we never forget his cowboy hat, Rodeo belt buck, his smile, or his generosity. We came together first to remember him, then to remember him and know that we are all still here and love each other, But this year is different. This year we remember him, know we are still here, and to celebrate a new life. Three new lives.
When all was said and done everyone came away with a smile on their faces and new memories to hold dear.
But nobody forgets one name....