Have you ever had a dream that was so real and so amazing you just didn't want to wake up. Of course you have....we all have, but the one that I have had twice makes me want to cry when I wake up. It is the absolute epitome of peace and I feel more love while I'm asleep dreaming than I can explain.
I grew up in the most amazing family. My grandparents and great grandparents lived next door to each other with only a lot separating them. Then my great Uncle and his family lived about two football field lengths from them.
Before I go any further let me say that in our family "great" Uncle.....only means Uncle....."great" Aunt or "great" Grandparents....are not different. Second and third cousins are no different than first cousins and are often referred to as Aunt or Uncle depending on the relationship between those cousins....ex. Uncle Joey or Uncle Steven.
So back to the dream.....
Everyone in our family had gathered under the tree that we always gathered under on Sunday in Mamaw Great's yard. Noone was excluded. Uncle Sid and all of his family came from Oklahoma, Craig and Kristen came from up North, Dickie and Donna and all of their family came....Al was there...Debbie, Haley....Nancy and her family, Cheryl and her family....you get the picture. Any bad blood between anyone was set aside. (We have an amazing family but we are human...we do have some serious personality conflicts at times).
There were chairs and lawn chairs spread out in a huge circle under the tree. There were quilts laid out across the thick grass for the babies to lay on. There was this huge slide that used to sit at Mamaw Great's and it was still there. There were tarp tents lined up going down the side of the house with tables, ice chests and wires galore. These tables were FULL of potluck dishes that everyone brought. They were set up in crockpots and warming trays. There were dips in bowls on ice and a HUGE tray of Aunt Dot's shrimp sandwiches graced the table that never emptied. There were tons of homemade biscuits and cornbread and a pot of Aunt Vie's potato soup with my name on it. (It's my dream...I get the soup)
In Mississippi, laying all of this food out all day is not exactly a reality. In my dream it was neither hot or cold...It was perfect weather. There was a breeze blowing and the smell of coffee lingered in the air.
The lot between Mamaw Great's and Mamaw's house hosted a softball game. There was no age limit on this game. Rusty, Chase, Donnie, and even Aunt Elaine participated right along with Brayden, Kellie Rae, Christopher and Adam.
The lot where Mamaw's house used to sit was full of kids and adults in a heated soccer game. The old tree out back where Mamaw built our tree house still stood with the old shed beside it. Hannah and Summer helped watch over some of the younger kids as they played house and babies and all the games we used to play out there.
In Mamaw Great's yard was one of those big inflatable slides that also entertained adults...mainly John-John....as well as kids.
There were kids of all ages everywhere getting acquainted or reacquainted with each other doing all the things that we used to do as kids.
We were there for a long time. It seemed as if time had stood still just for all of us. As I sat in my chair in the circle looking around I looked and saw all of those who had gone on ahead of us sitting under the tree on the outside of our circle....our grandparents, Aunt Marge and Uncle Jim, Uncle Glenn, Uncle J.D., Jimmy in his uniform...so many of our family sat there....some that us younger ones had never met. At our grandparent's feet and in their laps sat the babies that never made it full term and the ones who had left us to soon. When I turned and I saw all these people that I loved so dearly and who had made such a huge impact on my life...I jumped up and screamed for everyone to look and started running towards them. All I could think was wrapping my arms around my Mamaw and laying my head in her lap, but as I ran towards them they disappeared. I turned to look and I was the only one sitting under the tree in the yard.
I awoke trembling and I still get a knot in my throat thinking about it because I would give anything, absolutely anything to see my four grandparent's again....to hear Papaw Great holler at me from the back porch, to play under the house or have a weenie roast with Mamaw, cook with Mamaw Great, to hear Papaw holler for me...."Oh Missy Lea", to get teased by Uncle Glen, to hear Uncle Jim sing "All the Gold in California", to listen to Aunt Marge give our girls a lecture on how to be a lady.
In my dream I kept thinking "is this real?"...The love that was generated on that little strip of gravel road in the middle of farming country was so overwhelming. As I think about it....it was never really a dream. The inflatable slide was a dream....but everything else was real. It was real to those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up in the time that we did. We experienced everything in my dream.... throughout our lives..... on Sunday afternoons on the Warren/Issaquena County line.