Saturday, 13 November 2010

Yesterday we went to a funeral

for an elderly cousin of my father.
It was held in one of those plain stone churches which are dotted around Adelaide. They are not particularly beautiful or interesting buildings. They are mostly of Methodist or Presbyterian origin. There are stained glass windows in this one - memorial windows for the Great War and WWII. The cousin was in the RAAF. He spent most of his working life in "the bank". He was a Rotarian (Paul Harris Fellow) and other things. He was a good man, a good husband and a good father to five children and, perhaps, an even better grandfather to even more. After all, by then he had learned how to do it.
He was also a member of the clan and so the clan came, as much as it could, together. There was no nonsense here about not being able to get time off work or having to travel too far. One elderly frail cousin came from interstate - just for the day. He was up at 4:30am to get the plane and he would not be home until nearly midnight.
I know the cousin's friends, of which there were many, wondered at this. Who were all these people? They were friends. Yes, they knew he belonged to a family with Scots heritage - but all these people? Did we really know him?
Yes. As his children each rose to say something about their father we laughed at the in-clan as well as the in-family reminisces. Afterwards we indulged in "remember when" stories as well.
I watched his wife thank friends for coming. She is a lovely, gracious woman. She appreciated their presence and their concern.
Then she saw my father and, behind him, more cousins and her face lit up. Her eyes filled with tears that had not been there until then. There was a difference in these greetings. It was not intended to exclude anyone. It was just an acknowledgment that this was family. This was different.
Behind me I heard someone say,
"Look at them! I wish I belonged to a bloody Scottish clan!"
I am glad I do.


Anonymous said...

Yes, envy you lot!

Rachel Fenton said...

Very touching, Cat.