Susan's Blog

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Just Beautiful

We went to New Hampshire for the day, to Ned’s dad’s house, for a memorial service for Ned’s Uncle Dick, who died during the early spring. For much of Ned’s childhood, he spent Christmases with his brother CB and sister Sarai (today is her one year wedding anniversary, hooray!!!), his Dad, his step-mother Anne, Uncle Dick (Anne’s brother), Aunt Marie, and four cousins, Ellen, Rich, Suzie, and Ted. When he first met me and I told him my name was Susan Linda, he said, “my favorite cousin is Suzie Linder!” It was fate. I went with him one Christmas, back in 1982, when we were first dating. It was my very first Christmas, and an introduction to a big, close family, much like mine (lots of in jokes, pranks, traditions, and obvious love). Uncle Dick was cranky sometimes, but also charming and funny. It took me a while to get used to the whole thing, because they were like my family and also unlike my family, and I was just a sheltered girl. But Dick was truly an institution and we will all miss him.

Gathered in Tamworth, New Hampshire was Ned’s extended family and many of their friends, for not only does Ned’s dad and stepmom Anne live there now, but Anne and Dick also grew up there! It is one of those quintessential New England towns, with meadows, mountains, and a quaint white church in the middle of a field. Ned’s cousin Suzie now has two delightful children, who are now great friends with Benji. Other cousins were there, whom we had not seen since Nat’s bar mitzvah or even our wedding (almost 23 years ago!).

It was a brilliant, sunny day, and a lovely service. Many of the family had brought small tokens to place in the grave with Dick’s ashes, to bury him Pharaoh-style. Ned brought the first five stanzas of The Night Before Christmas, which Dick always read to the kids at Christmas, with tears in his curmudgeonly throat at the very end. His daughter Ellen poured scotch in, and then we all tried some. It was a very unusual ceremony; warm, funny, sweet, brainy and quirky — totally typical of Ned’s family.

Nat paced the cemetery and grinned in the warm sunlight and because of all the familiar faces around him. Ned’s family knows him very well by now and it is very easy to be among them.

We also made an unusual stop on our way home.

Here is Ned’s Tabblo of the kids, and me, his favorite model.

Tabblo: Family in Tamworth

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