Trouble in Cedar Key: One more time

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By Gene Benedict

I sat there quietly, deep in my thoughts. Alone in my thoughts. Alone in the midst of a crowd, all seated, all in their own thoughts. Time disappeared, seemed not to matter, not to exist. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..." Forming a background, then gaining in intensity. The crowd united in chorus, me still deep in my thoughts. That song usually ended these gatherings, this time, beginning. "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise..."

How great it'd be to talk to Cindy one more time.

It was Monday, week just past, the memorial service for Cindy Tindall. All the family was there, and in the crowd was a major portion of friends from the Cedar Keys. All attention was toward the front, on the immediate family, on the words and songs before them. "I'll fly away, o Lord. I'll fly away..."

I thought back to my father and how many times he would say to me, ..."if only I could have one more conversation with Dad (my grandfather) that's all I'd need. Just one more talk with him." Most of the time, he was under duress, or sad about things unsaid, undone. Now he is gone as is my mother, and I know what he meant.

I knew it well some years ago. I encouraged them to write things down as they remembered them. I'd put them in order as they came. I went so far as to get them a tape recorder and tapes so they wouldn't feel intimidated by the writing. But I think the recorder intimidated them, too, so I would remember things after a visit and take notes on my own.

I thought about my daughter, Melanie. Maybe she'd like that one more talk, that one more visit, that one more time with me. A major part motivation for these weekly articles, "conversations," with you, is to give Melanie a running history. And also for your use.

I glanced at Rich and at Theresa, and David and their spouses and children. I knew they each were yearning for that one more time with Cindy, that time that now exists only in memories. Thank God for that, for the memories.

"Take me home... to West Virginia. Take me home..." the service had started with the ending and now was finishing with the beginning. On their frequent trips to Canada to visit Theresa and Jordan and their grandchildren, they passed through West Virginia. They fell in love with it and talked of one day moving there, half way between both families, Theresa's and David's, and not too far from friends.

Cindy's remains will be spread there.

I'm reminded of a song by Johnny Cash, written about Appalachia and "its forty shades of green." It makes me think of the mountains of the Virginias . I've spent months and years in that area. When I was so sick and on the edge of life, I'd envision that area and its forty shades of green. You are set free, Cindy. Godspeed!

And as for "one more time," I've had that with Cindy in the weeks before her death. And her son David has a letter she wrote to him sometime back. And the rest have those memories of a good, loving woman who lived and shared her good life.

Please consider seriously that phrase, "one more time." It just might alter your outlook as it did mine.

Till next time we talk...

E-mail: tnckgebe@yahoo.com