John Howell Sr. 3/26/13

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 26, 2013

John Howell Sr.

Grandson’s visit, birthday connect to his ‘people’

Earlier this month, back when it was still Spring, we had a full-blown, five-alarm family circus in New Orleans.

Not that the whole family was there, but some were together in the same place for the first time.

Daughter Mary, son-in-law Phil and grandson Eli flew from Milwaukee to New Orleans. It was a birthday celebration of sorts: It was the last for Eli to fly as a non-ticketed lap passenger before he turned two.

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Meanwhile Phil’s parents, Lowell and Linda, joined me for the drive from Batesville to New Orleans.

Phil and his parents stayed for an extended weekend. When they returned to their respective points of origin, Mary and Eli stayed with us.

A few days later, our son, David, and daughter-in-law, Charlotte came for a weekend visit. While they were there, nephew John Nelson and his wife, Madilynn, came over for dinner.

So Eli got to see many of his people, and many of his people got to see him.

And we all had a great time.

The damncats soon recovered following everyone’s departure, Rosemary said.

After they had returned to Milwaukee, they celebrated the birthday — the second anniversary of his birth — on the 22nd. Their party consisted of a fine, small cake; a festively decorated kitchen and gifts. It was just the three of them. The videos his mother sent made it look warm and cozy inside, in contrast to ice and snow on the outside.

And she used the occasion — which Eli soon realized was about him, quickly realized was especially about him — to get out photos and videos of family members, some of whom he had just seen, others not so recently. She pointed to each one in the photos and told him who they were and how they were connected to him and how he had come into the world with a big network of family who loved him. It seemed to resonate with him, she said, rendering him unusually quiet and thoughtful for a few moments.

We deemed it an appropriate observance.