First, it was on my dresser looking back at me and now it sits on my desk where I can see it first thing every day.
I call them the original Fab Four. Sometimes when I'm tagging pictures that I have scanned which I share on social networking sites there is a picture I call the Fab Four. That is this little group:
We are cousins who grew up together, the first four children of sisters who are like twins. But we are not the original FF.
The ones that I cherish and the ones that started it all are these precious folks:
Four siblings born out of the Depression into a sorrowful situation. Their mother died within two months of the youngest's birth. They were 4, 3, 1 and 2 months old.
The two oldest stayed with their father. The little girl went to live with the grandparents in another town. And the baby went to live with more family to grow up with cousins.
The three year old was my mom. But I'm missing my point here. The original Fab Four grew up and each married and started families. One couple gave birth to three daughters and the other three families each adopted 3 children along the way.
It would take a few books to share all of the adventures and fun and happiness and sorrows that we have shared over just my lifetime.
For instance, we used to vacation together. Sometimes just some of us and other times most of us. I'll never forget the time most of us went camping together.
We had a huge tent that we assembled (that might be a story in itself) and all the "big kids" and our Uncle Bill slept in the tent. My dad and Uncle Stan slept in one of our station wagons and the three mommies and the two little ones slept in our camper. And then it rained. It rained the whole time we were there. It could have been a nightmare (and maybe for the parents it was) but it is a wonderful memory of lots of laughter and togetherness that I'll never forget.
This past year we buried the last two patriarchs of the Fab Four. Uncle Jim died many years ago now and my dad died in 2005. At the last funeral my cousin, Steve (one of the FF in the above picture--hint: think life jacket) who is now a wonderful Pastor, gave a sermon I can not forget. Sadly, the recording of it was botched somehow and can never be heard again which makes me sad. I wanted my children to hear it.
He laid down the gauntlet for our kids' generation. He said that what we were given, our parents, their heritage, was given to us from the Fab Four (my words). When we buried the last man of our Fab Four it in essence passed on the flame to OUR generation.
Loving Jesus and loving each other. That's it in a nutshell. That is what the Fab Four taught us and continue to teach us through the lives remaining here with us and through the legacy passed on from our fathers.
We lost so much this year. But I like to think about all that I've gained by being part of this family.
I miss them all. But, oh, what a fun ride it has been.