I was in Iowa this weekend for a memorial gathering for my Aunt Barby, who died about a month ago after a few years of suffering from the dreaded c-word. My Uncle Al, cousin Ann and her kids Dana (the one who visited me last summer) and her brother Jack came from New York, and my folks hosted a luncheon and then we buried her at the Crane plot, where I’d never actually been but where a couple of hundred years worth of Cranes are buried. It’s a nice spot, right across from Old Threshers, and there’s one of those big old obelisks marking the area. It was sad, but the weekend overall was joyful, and I am very fond of Ann and her offspring. Jack seems to be taking after his big sister with a talent for drama, appearing recently in The Crucible! The redbuds were in bloom – there are about a hundred on the property but I always seem to miss the short window during which they’re blooming, and it’s something to see – also the lilac bushes smelled heavenly. We all played Frisbee golf and our other new favorite family game, Lie-brary, and laughed a lot. We’re a funny bunch. No really.
And guess what I saw from the window of the train on the banks of the Mississippi? A huge, regal, CRANE. I don’t think I’d ever seen one before.