Yesterday Sharon and I set out to find a place for brunch. We had nothing in mind except to maybe find a new place. After driving a couple of blocks down Central Avenue, Sharon, who has a life and doesn't like to waste time, reminded me that my iphone knows everything. So I pulled over and googled "brunch places on Central in St. Pete". What came right up was a quaint little cafe one block away from where we were.
We ate at a table on the sidewalk. There were only two tables outside. That was probably because there were ants in the sugar jar and derelict types wandering around being loud and creepy. We didn't mind. The weather was beautiful and we were feeling our urbaninity.
Right across the street I commented on the stately four-story Alexander Hotel. I had never really noticed its classical revival architecture before, though I've driven past it many times. I was wondering when it was built and by whom when Sharon reminded me that my iphone knows everything. I googled it and discovered it was built in 1919 by Neel Reid (and that it was classical revival architecture).
I went on to read that Mr. Reid had once lived in my hometown of Roswell, GA. Roswell is a big city now, but was a small town when I was growing up. My ancestors founded it in the early 1800's. Mr. Reid had lived in Mimosa Hall which is one of the founding father's residences, built in 1830. I would guess that my great-great (and maybe another great, I'm not sure) grandfather, Valentine Coleman, had been a guest there at some point.
AND.............Neel Reid died in 1926, the year my mother was born. AND...............it was on February 14, the day she married my daddy (but of course not the same year because you can't get married the year you're born, unless you're from Alabama where I always heard there were no marriage rules). Anyway, these little connections fascinated Sharon and me, as we flipped ants off our coffee cups and avoided eye contact with the passersby.
Then there's this: You know that our family has been grieving the passing of Greg's parents, both gone within the last four months. Just as our hearts were feeling the twinges of relief, we find that Morris, my mother's long time, loving, might-as-well-call-him-husband.... has colon cancer. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. He's 92. I am really worried as I set off for Roswell on another leg of this peculiar, yet familiar journey.
There's a circle of sorrow swirling over my head from the generation of my parents. They seem to have formed a line at the bus stop, as C. S. Lewis mused, awaiting their turn to board the Greyhound that will take them from world to world. Vivian's dear father found his seat just this past week. And another friend's mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
It hurts because it isn't natural. God never intended death when He created the universe........didn't plan for us to suffer......and yet we do. Man has been googling that one since he left the i-garden........and still no easy answers. Of course, we have to take responsibility for sin (and thus pain) in the world......and believe that God has taken responsibility for redemption. So many cycles in motion, each dependent on the others, interlocking, interwoven......a master plan.........no coincidences allowed (well maybe a few, like Neel Reid from Roswell).
But btw, Morris's last name is also Reid. You'd have to be seriously mystical to read anything into that, but nevertheless, it's there. Just like the grief.