Monday, April 06, 2009

when craig wells died in winter i went looking for a picture of him on the web, and found a curious lack of anything there, pictures or otherwise, maybe one permit he had applied for sometime in california where he lived. so i went searching old photo albums and finally found something from the early sixties, when the twelve of us cousins got together; actually it was usually more like nine, since my uncle bones was on the outs back then with his three sisters, and couldn't make it all the way up to iowa anyway. the remaining cousins, craig the oldest, always looked kind of scottish when they were all together, but that's because we're all wallaces, and i'm in the middle, and there were lots of boys, but just my sister on the years when bones wasn't there. craig, being the oldest, always took a kind of generous older brother way with the rest of us, and lots of us visited him out in california and even stayed there for long periods of time. after a while he got into making wine and actually had a pretty good-running business, was into the art of it, when they found out he had a brain tumor and he couldn't read e-mails very well. that set us back quite a bit because he's not really that much older than i am and seemed really healthy right up until the last year or two.

but what bugs me is that i don't get out there much; almost not at all, and, i've taken to listening to old scottish gaelic missing-home songs as i drive around, not that african became old or anything, but more, that it sometimes lifts me out of a funk, of driving slowly, seeing spring unfold, but being so far away from family with so little chance of actually getting out there. there are a bunch of musicians among those wallaces, and if we were to get together, it would be good, i'm sure, but it hasn't happened, we being so far away, and there being so many of us. a cold grim second winter has set upon southern illinois and in fact the entire midwest, snow as high as six feet in nebraska, gray and nasty northern arctic chill coming down and ruining buds and any gardens anyone had planted, but i hadn't planted mine, being too busy anyway, and kind of in the dumps due to missing a family party for craig back when i was in colorado. i'd kind of hoped the airlines would bump me and tell me the only way i could possibly get home would be to go through california, but no, they stuck me on a full plane from colorado to st. louis and there was no disruption, just a straight shot back to the grim midwest where spring will have to try again to bust out and show. i called the wallace clan, and his wife said the gathering in craig's honor went well and was well attended, but i could only be there over the phone, and even then my voice got caught in my throat as i tried to wish them well and remember him. he was my cousin, the oldest of twelve cousins, loved by all, died in los gatos, 2009, and won't be forgotten. i feel like i don't know enough about him, about what he did and who he was, but time and distance, a grim wind between, that and a busy life, that leaves me so little time to even think, let alone write, it took me weeks just to get this down. next time someone searches though, they'll find this. he was a good cousin, he took care of us. when we lined up, cousin to cousin, he was at the tall end.

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