July 12

I went to a family get together yesterday. These gatherings used to be frequent full house affairs centered at a grandmother’s house on holidays or at a State Park picnic ground on long summer weekends.

Of course life intervened. Kids grew and left for lives of their own. Siblings fought, became estranged, reconciled. The Grim Reaper took his toll.

The event this weekend was a remembrance for a favorite uncle, Victor, who passed away last year.  Even after all this time there were new stories told that brought him back in our minds and our hearts.

Doing this blog has brought back many memories of my youth… where I was, who I was with, how I felt when I heard a particular song or album. Many times I was with Victor’s kids, all around my age, when these memories were made… whether it was a transistor radio in the bedroom, a console stereo in the basement or a car tape deck, we made many of these memories together.

Victor’s son, my cousin, brought me a gift from the coast: a near mint copy of the Muddy Waters album Fathers And Sons:

He was given this album by a musician friend after they were discussing this blog. I guess he figured that rather than sell this record for a few bucks at a yard sale he’d pass it along to someone who would appreciate it and enjoy it for years to come.

The album’s title took on a particular significance for me on this day. Here we were, two sons swapping stories about our dads; fishing trips, funny hats and all… Muddy Waters’ live set playing in the background.

They say that there are three deaths. The first is when your heart stops. The second is when your body is returned to the Earth. The third is that moment in the future when your name is spoken for the last time.

Our fathers live on in our memories today.

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