No cure for regret at memorial service

Published 7:45 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

By Harold Brummett 
Denmark Star Route

I have heard it said someone cannot miss what they have not known. While this may be true in a sense, it is not an absolute truth. 

Last weekend I attended a memorial for one of my first cousins. My daughter and I figured it up once and as best as we could determine I had 34 first cousins. The memorial was for Greg Gant, who beside a rare family reunion, contact with Greg could be counted in minutes over the years. 

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The last real contact with Greg was when Uncle Billy, Aunt Melba, Kathy and Betty and Greg were living near us. Uncle Billy farmed with my dad Audley. Greg being several years younger, he and I did not have much contact even then. 

The only real remembrance was an incident in the corn patch when we were kids. Bubba Hannah (another first cousin) Greg and I were playing while Uncle Billy and Audley pulled corn. 

The three of us boys decided to bomb each other with dirt clods. Since the corn was thick and one could not throw through it, we used a high arc throw to reach the intended adversary. All went well until the adults took action after being inundated with dirt clod shrapnel. This resulted in Greg sent back to the house. Bubba and I retreated to the depths of the corn patch – hiding until the adults went back to work. 

I listened to the memorial and wished I had a meaningful story to tell about Greg but the truth is, I didn’t know him.

What I did know was what my mother told me about other Gant relatives. Men like D.F. Gant, Mack Gant and Donnie Gant and Grandfather Fennel Gant. There were stories of adventures, fights, tricks and tricking on trades and deals. I could only imagine Greg as a character pulling life and verve out of every moment living life like those Gant ancestors.

Mother told me of Uncle Billy Gant and Uncle Kirk Gant and how as brothers they had a deep love for each other. This caring was to the point of when as boys they got angry at each other,  instead of fighting they would whip the other’s dog. 

Soon, mother said, they could only call their own dog. 

At the memorial, even though scattered through distance and time, one could feel caring amongst the relatives amid the loss and the pain. There is no one else to take the hurt out on, just sympathy and support for one another.

I don’t know the particulars of how Greg Gant met his end and I don’t want to know. Tragedy in itself is all the explanation needed. Regret for not knowing Greg as a man and cousin is ache enough.  Michael Cain (Kathy’s husband) said it is a shame when a memorial is what it takes to gather relatives together.