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A Memorial for Mother

Merced, California: The main reason we came to Merced was to celebrate the life of Dave’s mom, Virginia. She passed away in December and the family agreed on Mother’s Day weekend for her tribute. All the brothers. All the California cousins. All the grandkids. All the great grandkids.

The memorial service was held at the church Virginia belonged to for 60 years. The pastors knew her well. Over 70 photos spanning her life were shown on the screens in the church. Meghan sang three songs her grandmother had specifically requested, and everyone (many people attended) laughed and cried while remembering and rejoicing in her life. After the service, we all gathered in the Fireside Room behind the chapel for cookies and coffee.

I can’t even tell you how many cookies my mother-in-law baked in her lifetime for similar occasions at this church – served in the same room. She also taught Sunday school to adults and children for absolute decades.

After everyone but family had left the chapel, we had ourselves a little photo session:

Kent, Dave, Steve & Bill

Virginia had four boys, the four boys had four girls, and Lisa (the eldest grandchild) has a boy and a girl.

Kent, Cousin Jim, Steve, Cousin Claudia, Bill, Cousin Rob and Dave

It’s a very small clan. Compared to my family tree, Dave’s family is barely a shrub. Siblings Jim, Claudia and Rob are children of Virginia’s sister (also deceased). Dave’s cousins are just the best. We see Jim quite often, but do not see Claudia and Rob enough.

And now the spouses!
Jim & Nancy, Steve, Ginger & Bill, Terry & Dave, Rob & Stephanie, Kent, Richard & Claudia

And then this happened: Silly Billy and Leo –
and then… Steve and Leo

After the tribute to Virginia, everyone changed into more comfortable clothing and the family (and a few close friends) went back to Bill & Ginger’s house. We had tried and tried to get into a local restaurant, but with a party of 20 and it being Mother’s Day… there was nothing available in a town with so few restaurant options without a drive-thru window. We had pizza delivered, set up a bar, and set ourselves down in Bill and Ginger’s gorgeous back garden, and enjoyed a wonderful evening. The only person missing was Virginia (and Dad, who passed away in 1999). How much fun she would have had with all the cousins and grandchildren together!

Lucy changed from her prim/proper black frock to eat pizza in the garden.

Meghan (Bill & Ginger’s only child), Aleria (Kent’s eldest, college junior), Lisa (mine).
That’s some fine DNA, eh?

It was like sitting around a campfire, except without a campfire (and it was way too hot for a fire). See Mark (blue shirt, center) and Debbie? Dave’s oldest friend drove from the Bay Area to attend Virginia’s service. Such fabulous stories about Virginia were shared by the cousins.

Ginger, Lisa & Lucy, Meghan

Steve plays guitar. Billy is a drummer. Whenever these two get together, music is bound to flow. Lisa calls it kumbayahing when the family all sing together. Luckily we have Meghan, a professionally-trained voice, to lead the way (and mercifully drown most of us out). The neighbors did not phone the police, so that is always a good sign.

Sorry for this blurry photo – it was getting dark – but Leo just fell in love with Bill’s cajon drum – a box drum you sit atop and beat the sides. After a few songs, Leo (who studies piano) was getting the hang of drumming. Thank goodness Billy did not let Leo loose on his “real” drum set, or the neighbors would have phoned the National Guard.

Another wonderful evening with the Taylor Brothers and a fitting tribute to their mother.

This morning, I was presented with the most wonderful Mother’s Day gift:

Be jealous. Be very jealous.

This darling divided tray was hand-painted by Lucy! I love the colors she chose. Poor Lucy was so confused when she watched me begin the cry as I opened my gift. She saw us all crying at the church yesterday because we were sad, so didn’t know exactly what to think when I told her I was crying because I was happy.

I hope you all had a happy Mother’s Day!

Until my next update, I remain, your sad-yet-joyous correspondent.

RV PARK:The Lakes RV & Golf Resort – We are paying $55 for a full-service, 50 amp campsite. Good, free wifi, swimming pool. They have a relationship with the golf course next door, so rounds can be included in your stay.