We’re the top

The top generation, that is. We spent the morning at a service and celebration of the life of The Beautiful Becky’s father, Ray. TBB is one of my many beautiful, fun-loving Courtois sisters-in-law. She’s married to the GG’s “little” brother Jim and mom to their four children. Ray had a long, successful career with the International Union Operating Engineers Local 324 and many people today spoke of his talent for getting people with different opinions to work together. Not an easy thing during the years of decline in the Detroit area. I didn’t know Ray very well. We saw him and Becky’s mom (who died a week or so before my dad, in 2006) mostly at graduations and things for Becky and Jim’s kids. In the spirit of six degrees of separation, I believe an interest in conservation issues led him to cross paths with my uncle Austin, who served as the director of the Michigan DNR until his untimely death in 1972. Ray later served as chairman of that same organization. I don’t know much about all of that. I was a young, crazy kid in those days and didn’t have a full understanding of what my elders were doing.

So, some of the many Courtois family members (including the outlaw known as KW) attended today to support our beloved sister Becky and her family. I sat by The Beautiful Kathy and we caught up on whatever little bits of gossipy type stuff have happened since the last time we were together. Which was the weekend before Labor Day. A beautiful weekend of hiking the Mason Tract and motor-boating over to the tiki bar. And talking and laughing and talking and laughing and drinking whine and talking and laughing and talking and laughing, blah-de blah-de.

Today, one of the topics that came up was how we are getting to be the top generation in our family(ies). My sweet, beautiful mother-in-law Sally died too young way back in 1994 and Garth followed her in 2001. That’s nine years ago. I miss them. In my family, there are still a few folks left in the generation above me. On both sides of my family. Including The Commander. My mother. That venerable entity who still trundles and steams along at the age of 89. Hauling a butcher knife out of the kitchen when her long-suffering daughter starts talking about getting her a headlamp so she doesn’t fall down in the woods in the dark. Raising her cudgel up in the air at the grokkery store to ask “what is that up there?” Expressing anger at that long-suffering daughter (and only living child, alas) because she does not do things exactly like she was taught. As if a spirited child like KW [or Mouse] could be taught anything…

But I thought about all of this today. Yes, The Commander does drive me nuts sometimes (it’s okay, she reads this and she knows that and it’s mutual). I mean, I don’t (always) cook or clean the way she does and I do not wear shoes when I walk on the rocks at the end of the beach and I sometimes wear clothing that she doesn’t really approve of, although she doesn’t say much about that any more, I think she’s given up 😉 And… Oh well, this is threatening to go on and on into the night. I will try to make it short. I am… Sorta… Glad… That there is still someone who occasionally treats me like I was 15 years old. Or three. I don’t really like being treated like a kid but, I know that one of these days, I *will* be the top generation. But I am not yet and I am not quite ready yet. Stick around for a while, you baggy old pie-making, iPhone-using old bag. Love you!

Farewell and Godspeed, Ray. You were one of the best.

2 Responses to “We’re the top”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I know what you mean–it drives me nuts, but it’s also endearing when my mom babies me. I will miss that! I don’t want to be at the top. It’s nicer to be in the middle. 🙂

  2. becky Says:

    Thank you so much for coming. I have been blessed with the best family and friends – I love you guys. I had a cousin who passed from breast cancer a few years back and her daughter told a story I can’t forget. At the end her mom was in a lot of pain and one day she was folding towels and her mom was grimacing – she said mom are you ok? are you in pain? No she said – you’re not folding the towels correctly they are supposed to be folded in thirds. I just laughed because my cousin was very orderly about her housekeeping and her daughter not so much. We all have our little idiosyncrasies. Although the real moral of this story is I now like to fold my towels in thirds – i believe it must be divine intervention :).