Across A Crowded Room

This morning, after having returned from the recent book signing event in Borger, I reflect upon the fact that though I was with so many family members during the short visit, I had very few opportunities to “visit” with most of them. I didn’t even get to have a conversation with Mom!

That particular thought is kind of hard to contend with, because I love to talk to Mom. Of course, we’ll do it on the phone—I’ll probably call her today or tomorrow, but it’s not the same. Our best talks are the ones when we walk as we talk. In Fritch—where we were this weekend, we often walk around the neighborhood where Aunt Ada lives, talking about one thing or another. Our conversations are not generally of any depth; mostly, we just talk about God and what he’s doing in our lives. We talk about other things, too, but it all comes back to the main focus of our lives—God and family.

As for the “visit” this weekend, I had only a few conversations that lasted more than a few minutes. One was with Aunt Ada (Mom’s older sister) and it was when we first arrived. I asked her how the larger family came to reside in the Texas panhandle back in the days when me and all my cousins were born, and it was interesting hearing what she recalls of that time in our family history.

The only other conversation of length was with Mike McKinney—my cousin Marlene’s husband—and Ray Brown—Mom’s husband. Mike and Marlene live in Borger, where the book signing was held, and we went to their house for a bowl of homemade ice cream and a brief visit after the book signing. I love talking to Mike, but our conversations have been few over the years. He, Ray and I talked about God and politics for about thirty minutes then we had to rush back out to Fritch to see some of the other cousins before they had to leave for their homes in other parts of the panhandle area.

Here’s the thing: Even though the visit was brief, and the conversations were short, they were sweet. Just being with all those who came from other places, as well as those who live in the Borger/Fritch area, was wonderful. We’d sit in groups, and share stories and events—never anything of depth, or great meaning, just jokes and funny stories from the past—and it just felt good.

I wish we weren’t all so scattered, and I certainly wish we could get together more often. I wish I could have spent more time with each and every person that was there, but it was what it was. And in the end, it wasn’t—isn’t—about conversations, it’s simply about being with the people you love. In fact I can remember a few “conversations” that were nothing more than a shared smile across a crowded room.

No matter the time I spent with each one, though, I felt tremendous love from all of them. Yes, sir, there was enough love there for everyone, and I brought as much as I could carry back home with me. I’m not sitting here at this keyboard this morning wishing things could have been different, or better. I’m sitting here wrapped in the love my family gave to me, and basking in the rays of the short, sweet time we all shared.

It was a wonderful visit with wonderful people; it kind of felt like it feels when the sun comes out from behind the clouds and warms you on a fresh spring day. Yes… very much like that.

And did I mention I brought back eight jars of Aunt Ada’s homemade jam?


  1. Sherry said

    This is beautiful, Charlie. It IS just about being in each others’ presence, isn’t it?

  2. Wilma Brown said

    The time did go fast and we didn’t have time to walk or talk, but we did
    get to enjoy family and get lots of hugs. And i got some of that plum jam
    too! Mom

    • That’s some goooood jam! Had some this morning! I missed that walk the most though. Those are the best times with my mom!

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