Of course I had to buy this Elvis magnet from my Union Square magnet guy. How pretty is he? (Elvis, not the Union Square magnet guy.)
Elvis served in the Army for a couple of years from 1958-60, and then served in the reserves for a few more years after that. I mean, talk about a pretty boy in a pretty uniform!
I figured I'd use him today for Memorial Day, where everyone's supposed to find a vet and say thank you.
So, for any magnet-loving veterans (and those currently serving) out there - thank you!
As for us, we had a different sort of memorial day, a memorial service for Uncle Frank - my sister's godfather, and a close family friend who passed away last Tuesday.
It's actually the first time I've seen how Filipinos celebrate the dead up close, or rather, the first time I've seen it as an adult. Part of the process is gathering together with the family each night for nine days (harking back to the nine days the Disciples and Mary spent in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday) - where we pray for the soul of the departed, to help them get through purgatory.
That's nine days of folks coming to the house, bringing food and fellowship - sitting down together to recite the rosary and then the special novena prayers for the dead. And then we eat and visit with each other. In layman's terms, think of it as a nine-day wake.
So far, we're on day six.
I wouldn't have believed it last week, but my first stop when I get back to NY is actually to pick up a rosary from St. Patrick's. I'm not saying I'm back from my lapse-sation, but there really is something about having this routine of community prayer. There's still those couple of prayers and that one Filipino song that I'll never get the hang of, but if I'm to be honest, the week's been really eye-opening.
It sounds trite, but as with any passing, we're forced into focusing on what's important, and how we treat each other, and how precious time is here on Earth. It helps also puts a fine point on what we want our own legacies to be, how we want to be remembered, and what happens to those left behind.
Uncle spent his last day with his family, having lunch with my dad and some friends, doing some chores, playing some Scrabble, and then going to bed. And now here we are, saying good-bye to a good friend and a good man.
Note regarding yesterday's blogpost about those blasted birds:
They actually were Uncle Frank's birds that he gave my mom years ago before they moved to Las Vegas. He taught them how to sing and apparently really loved them. Today, after we came home in the middle of the day - the birds were singing a new - and very long - song.
I'm thinking that my dead Uncle Oscar (who hangs out at the rolltop in my room, according to my mother) may have a guest downstairs (hanging out with those cockatiels).
Man, it's getting crowded over here - at some point, ya'll know who we're gonna need to call.