The sun has been out all day and its inviting warmth is a stark contrast to the dullness of the past days. I prefer the sunshine to the clouds and steel grey sky. I will be at The Park this afternoon and evening.
Today marks the birthdays of two important people, my great-grandmother, Mary Belle Jones Clary (20 December 1897 – 28 January 1969), mother of my maternal grandmother, Donna Clary Barmes, and my partner Richard “Rick” Frances Donson (20 December 1963 – 10 April 1990) on his 59th birthday.
Grandma Belle was a beautiful soul and though I was quite young when she died, I still have many fond memories of her. When Grandpa Garrett retired from farming in 1966, they moved into Elwood (Indiana) and lived on Ninth Street, a few blocks north of us. With my grandparents on the opposite corner of where I lived, I was quite lucky to be so near two generations of family. Grandma Belle was the daughter of Joel Monroe Jones and Anna Greenlee Jones, the wife of John William Garrett Clary, and the mother of Ronald Monroe Clary, Donna Mae Clary Barmes, and Joyce Ann Clary Riser.
Rick has been gone nearly thirty-three years and while life has continued without him, I do still miss him in different ways but manage to not dwell on it. For some reason, today feels especially lonely without him. Perhaps it is because his birthday ended the three months of us being the same age with me catching up with him the following September. This year’s birthday would have embarked on our being on the brink of entering our sixties.
From Elizabeth Browning’s “A Woman’s Shortcomings”
Unless you can think, when the song is done,
No other is soft in the rhythm;
Unless you can feel, when left by One,
That all men else go with him;
Unless you can know, when unpraised by his breath,
That your beauty itself wants proving;
Unless you can swear “For life, for death!” –
Oh, fear to call it loving!
Unless you can muse in a crowd all day
On the absent face that fixed you;
Unless you can love, as the angels may,
With the breadth of heaven betwixt you;
Unless you can dream that his faith is fast,
Through behoving and unbehoving;
Unless you can die when the dream is past –
Oh, never call it loving!
Make it a great day…
PHOTOS: Grandma Belle & me, 1965; Rick & me at Smith-Wallbridge Drum-Major Camp, 1979.