When I think back upon my childhood my mind often travels to the western panhandle of Maryland where my mom's parents lived. And the very best visits to see Grandma and Grandpa were those visits when my mom's brother and sister and their families were also in town.
I remember sitting crowded around Grandma's dining room table, often with three of us on the end sharing the piano bench, passing around platters full of fried green tomatoes or waiting for our parents to load our plates full of Grandma's cheesy potatoes...depending on the season. I remember putting Grandpa's Elvis records on the record player and dancing like wild children taking care not to "step on my blue suede shoes." I can still remember the giddy excitement of piling blanket on top of blanket to make a giant sleeping pallet for all of us cousins to sleep on when we managed to talk our parents into letting us all sleep in the living room together. And I remember laughter...oh the laughter...
It's been over nineteen years now since I last saw my Grandpa do his soft shoe routine and listened to him jingle the change in his pocket and heard him spin one of his crazy yarns as he put me to bed.
It's been just over fifteen since I last hugged my Grandma, celebrating with her the night Ian proposed to me. I can still close my eyes and see her sitting in the chair in Mama's living room, clapping her hands and making her feet dance on the floor as her eyes sparkled. I think she loved Ian near as much as I do.
All these years we as a family have missed them.
And we've gotten together as a family for weddings, funerals, and celebrating big anniversaries.
But it's been a while since we had gotten together just for the sake of it.
Until last Saturday.
I'm so thankful that two of my cousins decided it was time to organize a F family reunion.
With ten households represented it took a bit of lead time to pull it off.
But on August 10th, we all got together.
My mom and her brother and sister.
Their seven kids...we, the grandchildren.
Our kids, the fifteen great-grandchildren. (with two more on the way!)
And oh my goodness y'all should have seen the spread. Grandma's ability to put a good meal on the table was something that was passed down!
We cooled off with a little water gun action. Big kids vs. little kids.
Sam and Ben may have learned not to underestimate their little second cousins.
They may be small, but they were mighty...
...water gun action between...
...the youngest generation...
...and my uncle Larry.
But for the whole day, do you know what was the very best part?
Grandma and Grandpa may not have been with us in physical form. But man we could sense them in the laughter. It would appear that silly runs deep in the family line.
Can't wait until next year when the F family takes on our nation's capital!