Old Charlie sat on the back concrete stoop and although I could not focus perfectly I could see that his eyes were wet with tears and his suit looked dirty. If we were an Irish family this would have been the time where someone would be singing Danny Boy Acapella without irony and all of the children would be given a free pass for drunkenness until the sun came up over the hills behind us. There would be immediate family bonding and love flowing freely.
We would hold each other and sway.
But we were not that family that lived in my muddled imagination.
We were my family.
And we all were in different parts of the garden feeling vastly different emotions.
We were stifled and still in suits and linens that had sucked in the summer sweat and humidity earlier in the day when we stood over the grave site.
We were watching the tiny hands of our watches spin and we were sure that this day would soon end if we drank enough of Charlie's free booze.
My father’s brother Ed would drink with me at a small wrought iron bistro table surrounded by the heady rotten red peonies that hung low against the perfect carpet of green green Ohio grass that afternoon.
He would sit and sit with me until I felt like standing.
He knocked at the bright pink flowers with his leather boot.
The leaves fell like rain all around my bare feet.
We both laughed a bourbon laugh.
Gran had told me years ago that people used to put Peony seeds under their children's pillows at night to ward off bad dreams.
When Uncle Ed wasn't looking I grabbed some of the seeds from the flower and I ate them.