Bearing witness to family gatherings – The Gazette

Subscriber Services
Our Journalists
Sports Desk
Our Columnists
Our Writers
Our Writers
Our Photojournalists
Data
More Gazette
Other Links
 
FOLLOW US

Share this article:
Subscriber Services
Our Journalists
Sports Desk
Our Columnists
Our Writers
Our Writers
Our Photojournalists
Data
More Gazette
Other Links
 
FOLLOW US

Home / Opinion / Guest Columnists
Aug. 28, 2022 7:00 am
It was, I assume, a family gathering. Out by the railed fence in my front yard two adult wild turkeys and seven babies were rooting around in the grass, looking for insects, or snails. I call it a small flock. Fancier folks call a group of turkeys a “rafter.”
At first I didn’t notice the runt of the litter perched on the lowest fence rail, while all of the others were on the ground. There was something rather compelling, maybe even sad about the youngster. She was smaller than her brothers and sisters. Here’s where I’m to avoid anthropomorphizing what the little poult is thinking, what she is feeling. I can neither assign any importance to her perching on my fence nor can I extrapolate it into a larger meaning; simply a bird on a fence, one of those fleeting things to grab hold of, to take in.
Vultures have been busy the past few weeks, circling overhead, 30 feet above the trees, in groups and alone. They are good fliers, able to ride warm thermals for long periods before having to flap their wings. It’s aerodynamics of the highest order, yet we don’t give them much credit because they are not, well, sexy birds. Vultures may, in fact, be the most important birds in the world, as they feed off carrion, dead animals, which prevents the spread of disease from rotting carcasses. Please give them their due.
My cardiac rehab is going well; thanks for asking. I have never been a true believer when it comes to therapy, however it seems I may have been wrong. I’m already feeling like I might live a bit longer. Recently, before one of my sessions, I was walking to my car across a hospital parking lot and I crossed paths with a man unknown to me. As we approached each other I said, “Hey.” Out of courtesy he responded, “How ya doin’?” To which I said, “Terrible, how ‘bout you?” It wasn’t what he expected to hear, yet he turned back as we passed each other, smiled, and said, “Me too.” This was a scene I call “Two old men being honest.”
Speaking of family gatherings, allow me to serve up a bit more mumbling. A week or so ago I was invited to a birthday gathering for a man who worked with my wife years ago. The party was held in a home overlooking a slow-moving Mississippi River, just above a lock and dam. I’d guess there were 50 or more people in attendance, all family members and close family friends. And me. Not exactly sure how I made the guest list. The wife of the birthday boy (he’s 82) spent quite a bit of time with me, trying to make me feel at ease, bless her heart, telling me about the guests, introducing me to many of them.
I am totally uncomfortable in group gatherings: they make me want to run screaming from the room, hop in my car, and disappear into my hollow. Don’t even get me started on committees. I live in the country for a reason. The whole thing was fascinating to watch, all of the parts moving in unison, everyone humming the same tune.
There were beautiful women of all ages gliding effortlessly toward others, offering food from plates to handsome men who mostly remained seated, welcoming anyone who wished to join them. There were children who seemed comfortable no matter where they landed. And that’s when I knew why I was there. It was my job to bear witness to a group of people entering each other’s hearts. What I saw wasn’t merely a birthday party; it was love.
Kurt Ullrich lives in rural Jackson County. His book “The Iowa State Fair” is available from the University of Iowa Press
Newsletter Signup
Delivered to your inbox daily
You will begin to receive our Daily Opinion updates and our topical Pints & Politics newsletter. Add [email protected] to your contacts.
Tom Barton
The Gazette
Tom Barton
Staff Columnists
Staff Columnists
Staff Columnists

Guest Columnists

Guest Columnists

Guest Columnists

Guest Columnists

Staff Columnists

Staff Columnists

Staff Editorials

Staff Editorials

Nation and World

Crime and Courts

News

News
FOLLOW US

The Gazette is Iowa’s independent, employee-owned source for local, state, and national news coverage.
© 2022 The Gazette
All Rights Reserved.
© 2022 The Gazette
All Rights Reserved.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.