Moments of Sheer Joy

by on October 30, 2020 · 2 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Being a bit squeamish in this pandemic I hadn’t seen my family in a while but I saw some of them the other day in a neighborhood park.

Maria, my beautiful sidekick, and I were the first to arrive. And I had no idea when my offspring would appear as we are “see you when I get there” kind of folks.

So, I stretched my long self out in my beach chair and just scoped the scene, chuckling at a few squirrels playing “Stop and Go,” watching as children ran to and fro and I smiled and waved a “Hello” at a couple of passersby I know.

And then I looked up and saw Nyla, one of my twin daughters, coming towards me and shortly afterwards Tawny, the other half of the duo, drives up with her children, Lyric and Marley, and her sister’s little girl, Indigo.

Then my youngest son, Carlos, came and we were all good to go and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt, in my life, more sheer joy than what I felt in my moments with them that day, not to mention we were there basically on time – so there was no lost time.

It was gratifying watching the little ones play, ever so harmoniously, digging in the sand, dragging a heavy tree branch around, a little chasing here and there, with Marley taking a couple of breaks to tell Maria “I really missed you” to a happy “I missed you, too.”

There was one moment that started out as a downer but ended on a cheerful note. Lyric was telling me how he hated school online and, as I was running that through my mind, his teacher and his wife happened to walk by, walking their dog, and the smiles Lyric exchanged with him eased my mind, telling me that when “real” school started again everything would be just fine.

And there was one moment when little Indigo turned her head a certain way and I saw my Nancy, her grandmother, long gone now, in an expression on her pretty face.

That sent me, nostalgically, back to another time, another place, back to when Nancy said to me, “The reason I was running you all over the tennis court in Spain was not because it was two against one like we were joking, but three against one.”

“TWINS?” “TWINS! And there we were off buying baby stuff again, one more of everything.

Joyful moments for sure. And then four years later we signed adoption papers for a little boy. Can’t have too much joy.

As we caught up with talk about what we were all doing in our lives, scenes from our lifetimes played in me.

Visions danced in my head of them laughing as their mother tossed them in the air, catching them as if she were going to miss; of them sitting, nervously, playing in piano recitals and marching with school bands and dancing on stage in Balboa Park and at the Del Mar Fair.

I could see Tawny scoring a goal on a quick break down the field, Nyla diving headfirst into the grass saving a goal, Carlos doing everything that can be done on a soccer field, seemingly all at once.

I remembered putting training wheels on Carlos’s little bike and watching him ride down to the corner at 30th Street and Beech, coming back demanding that the training wheels be removed and then pumping back to the corner and returning with his feet on the handlebars. He’s as gifted as any athlete I’ve ever seen and I’ve been around some outstanding jocks.

I recalled how Nancy and I came to recognize how naturally fast the girls were (Carlos is too) by watching them run down balls in the outfield, in tee-ball games. The other boys and girls would be pumping their arms and moving their legs, running with all they had, while Tawny and Nyla left them in their wake with beautiful long smooth strides, getting to the ball way ahead of them and then, like most everybody else, having no idea what to do with it.

In later years I cheered madly as Nyla, running the anchor lap for San Diego High’s 1500-meter relay team, took the baton, way behind everybody else, and came within an inch of her team winning the race. One of the most joyfully exciting moments I’ve ever experienced.

I couldn’t help but feel like I was strung out on happy gas, just sitting with them and my grandchildren, basking in reality and precious memories.

Driving home, Maria and I stopped at one of our favorite cafes and dined sitting outside a good distance away from other patrons.

That was my first such venture since the sickness came along.

Sitting there munching on delicious cuisine, and nursing a tasty refreshing Cadillac Margarita with a lovely woman sitting across from me, it was hard to believe that my day had begun with me mired in a deep blue funk, as out of nowhere that morning I suddenly found myself grieving the passing of my oldest daughter, Debbie, and my oldest son, Guy – for no reason that I can think of other than such pain never goes away and can be triggered when you least expect it.

But after my crying was done I settled down and thought how blessed I was to have my now oldest daughter, Teresa, alive and well.

And I realized, more than ever, that we have to enjoy moments of joy whenever we can.

And I did that in spades on this day.

I hope to live to see this pandemic fade away.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Rev Alyce SmithCooper November 7, 2020 at 4:54 am

Hi Earnie, precious memories, how they linger.As always, I enjoyed your writing from the inside out. From memories to tears back to smiles. Thank you dear friend.
I have a special request of you and will soon be in touch.
Best beautiful joys.
Alyce

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Avatar Toni Kaus November 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Loved this piece, Ernie. Brought back some memories for sure. Thanks

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