Monday, March 26, 2012

Sibling Memories: Indian Paintbrushes

I just returned from my trip to Corpus Christi, TX where I attended the wedding of a niece.  The best part of the trip was that all four of my siblings were present at the wedding.  We converged on Texas from Washington, Illinois, Indiana, and Ontario, Canada.  Five years have passed since the last time we were all together.  There are so many thoughts and as one of my brothers commented, "There's a lot of fodder for your blog from this weekend."  Indeed.

As we started the drive from San Antonio airport to Corpus Christi we were all taken by the very different landscape.  Watching the cactus pop up along the roadside was foreign to all of us. We were all admiring the beautiful and unfamiliar wildflowers.  I can't remember the sequence of the conversation but I basically commented on a pretty flower, my youngest brother made a joke about pulling over to pick some, I said, "Don't offer unless you're really willing to make good on it."  Then, all of the sudden, my brother pulls over on the side of the highway and calls my bluff.  Next thing I know we're all spilling out of the SUV and making a mad dash to pluck coral colored blossoms.  I was actually a little nervous that some Texas Ranger was going to come upon us and arrest us all for poaching a part of their state.  (An idea planted by my one brother who was convinced that he wouldn't escape Texas without an arrest from one of the Rangers - it may just have been a fantasy).

Back in the car we gathered our individual efforts and had a very beautiful bouquet.  We drove the remaining two hours and found the church where the rehearsal and dinner would be that evening.  After dinner we returned to the car and found our lovely bundle had shriveled, wilted, in a word, died.  We found our way to the beach condo where we stayed and plopped them into a plastic cup of water.  It was sad and a little pathetic, looking at the pink cup of dead flowers.  I wish I would have taken a picture so that the rest of this story could be more dramatic.  We left to go down to the beach for a bonfire and returned probably two hours later to find the flowers in the photo.  My sister who has lived in Texas calls them Indian Paintbrushes.  The rest of my siblings thought that calling them Lazarus flowers might be appropriate too, (reference to Bible story about the man who rose from the dead).

The weekend was great.  It was great because we had a chance to make new memories instead of relying on a stash of old childhood stuff that we all remember differently anyway.  And in a very hokey way, it was good to bring our wilted relationships with one another back to life, dip ourselves in some cool water and draw upon that to rehydrate our connections.  Those flowers just kept offering themselves up to us, opening up even after being terribly neglected.  I am thinking about other people in my life that I might do the same.  I am thinking about people who I need to take on a road trip and pick some flowers with.  What are some of the ways that have helped you restore life to your relationships?


  1. When my best friend moved to Brooklyn I was devastated and afraid that I was losing the most significant person in my life after my husband and kids. We have only seen each other once in the year and half since he moved but we talk and text almost every day and even have watched our favorite TV show together on the phone. It sounds crazy but if we can't have physical contact we are making use of the other more digital forms to continue a shared set of experiences, jokes, stories, and memories. I guess it boils down to being intentional and feeding the relationship if you want it to thrive.

  2. btw somehow this photo looks so much more beautiful than it did on your phone. Glad to see the beauty of the lazarus flowers shine through!

  3. This picture came out fantastic - and I am so glad to have a more recent (and adult) memory with my siblings. A girl can only live on "no say may byes" for so long.