We were interrupted Thursday night as we relaxed at the patio table in Chris' backyard, enjoying some brotherly reminiscences and good-natured kibitzing after my arrival at his home in Ohio.
"Your mother just jumped off the shelf and shattered her frame," sister-in-law Marge announced from the doorway.
Our mother's picture had lived on that dining room shelf "forever," Marge answered to my question. She swore that it hadn't been touched or moved for months, and when it crashed to the floor no one was anywhere near it.
Didn't impress Chris and me much at the moment - stuff falls off counters and shelves all the time.
But after a few beers and bumps, and a generosity of wine in the twilight, we convinced ourselves that Ma was trying to join us, so we humored her and invited her to sit with us for awhile, and we shared wonderful memories and laughs.
The next day Chris and I drove an hour to visit the grave of Ma and Dad in an amazingly pleasant country cemetery. It was only my second visit - I was there about 35 years ago shortly after Dad was buried.
We didn't stay very long. Didn't have to. It was a powerfully beautiful experience and a peaceful moment for the heart.