This past week was a hard one for me. I had to help lay to rest one of the men I call my little brothers, my cousin Billy. The unexpected phone call came early in the am and was a shock to me. I considered Billy to be one of my little brothers since my Bubby was born almost 11 years after me and Billy was only 4 years younger. It is never easy to bury one of your own, but to bury a younger person is even harder. It is still fresh and still hurts…I miss talking with him on the phone. I miss his laugh and the ease at which we could always be with each other. I even miss him calling me Kiki….my childhood nickname that he still called me. My family means the world to me, even my cousins, and the thought of not going home to Iowa to say goodbye never even crossed my mind. So, Bubby and I quickly made arrangements to fly out to Iowa and meet up with our family to do one of the hardest things we have ever done (those are Bubby’s big brothers considering he only has sisters). No one should ever have to bury someone younger than themselves. We caught a butt crack of dawn flight out and planned to meet our Dad there.
Upon landing in Des Moines, I turned my phone back on and noticed I had a text message from my Aunty T stating she was picking us up and not our Dad. Huh. Weirdness but ok…at least SOMEONE was picking us up. Then my phone alerted me to a voice mail from my Dad which said something like this: “Um…so I am not going to be able to pick you up. I think someone will be there but if not just start calling family to come get you guys. Something has happened and I am on my way to Illinois. I am not quite sure what but your Aunt P got left at a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere. Will call you later. Love you.” I looked quizzically at Bubby and we tried to make sense of the message, knowing there has to be a story there. Why did Uncle M leave our Aunt at a McDonald’s? So unlike him…especially considering this Aunt has Parkinson’s disease. Did they fight? Did he mean to leave her? Did he have a stroke or heart attack and got rushed to the hospital and Aunt P doesn’t know? We tried to figure it out and got off the plane in search of our Aunty. Upon finding Aunty and after the big hugs and kisses that are always accompanied when I meet up with her, we asked what was going on. The plot then gets even weirder, if that is possible. Guess they stopped at a McDonald’s to go to the bathroom and when Aunt P came out, Uncle M had left. Luckily, she remembered my Aunt B’s phone number and called to get someone to come get her…4 hours away. Aunty T had been trying to reach Uncle M all morning and was unable to do so. They only have the one cell phone between them so poor Aunt P was stuck at this McDonald’s until my Dad could get there or someone got a hold of Uncle M. They even called the local police but his car was nowhere to be found. We worried that Aunt P was gonna be ok since she has Parkinson’s and kept trying to get a hold of Uncle M unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, my Dad kept driving the 4 HOURS one way to get Aunt P.
A few hours later, Aunty T’s phone rang and it was Uncle M stating “We are here in town”. I hear Aunty T quickly say “What do you mean we, M?” Then the conversation quickly made me and Bubby giggle as Aunty T states to him “P is not in the car. Look in the back seat M….she isn’t there. That pile of blankets is not my sister. I am as serious as a heart attack. You left her at a McDonald’s in Illinois.” How could we not laugh at this point? He drove 4 hours without once checking to see if his wife was ok as he thought she was sleeping back there. Really? 4 hours? Not once did that pile of blankets move and my Aunt is never still for long due to her disease. Even Uncle M stated once he got to the house that the car ride had been really quiet. Guess she had gotten out to go to the bathroom and Uncle M did not know she had gotten out of the car at all. So my Dad drove 8 hours to make sure his sister made it to the funeral. Let’s just say Bubby and I were glad we were not in the hotel room next to them that night! It was the talk and laughter of the viewing that night…we were glad to have some giggles and I know Billy was laughing right along with us. He would have thought that was a riot. He probably arranged it cuz he would have hated us being all serious. Oh Uncle M….pretty sure you will NEVER live this down from our family. You left your wife in the middle of nowhere Illinois at a McDonald’s and never noticed. My Uncle J asked me at the funeral luncheon if it would be appropriate to go ask Uncle M and Aunt P if they wanted McDonald’s for lunch…yup. Never gonna live this one down. For years, this will be the family joke. I might send them a McDonald’s gift card for Christmas…..
May you rest in peace my little brother…thanks for the laughter that we needed that night. I miss you terribly. Just know that I will watch over your Mom, kids and brothers for you…you meant so much to me and were always my favorite. Aunty T….Billy will always be loved and we all miss him…I love you Billy.
I wrote this blog especially for my Aunt N tonight….hope it brought you laughter and smiles. I am glad my blog can bring you some joy right now and I am glad we got to visit with you….love you!
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did however get some comic relief at a time when I needed it the most. Life hands you curve balls and you have to pick yourself up. I am fat girl who is glad she didn’t get left at a McDonald’s running. The experiment continues….