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A Reunion of Sorts
My grandmother, 93, died a week before my planned visit. Instead of our annual rehashing of memories and the painful ritual of the final goodbye, again, I attend her funeral. Here the memories come to life. All the players, major and minor, are present—my parents and siblings, nephews and nieces, aunt and uncle, great aunts and uncles, cousins to the third degree, and children and spouses who defy the categories of American kinship.
There are those in the crowd who subscribe to the tenets of damnation and salvation, so I keep my mouth shut and nod politely at references to angels and a better place, stare a moment into the open casket at someone who once made the best lemon meringue and pecan pies on the planet, and stand aside to receive condolences.
"Who," my uncle whispers, "are those two women?"
Two elderly women are peering into the casket and chatting away, trying to look grief-stricken but laughing quietly. They see us staring and walk over.
"We're twins," they say. I don't catch their names.
"We played basketball with Mary in high school," the one on the left says.
"How old are you?" my uncle asks.
"Ninety-two," they chime in unison.
"She was a good basketball player," the one on the right says. "She used to be taller."
a bottomless peach basket
nailed to the barn door