Monday, August 15, 2011
The Happy Family
I can remember, not that long ago, it was a rare occasion when my family and those of both my sisters’ showed up at the folk’s place at the same time. With the exception of my elder sister and hubby, who spent some time in both Ephrata in eastern Washington, and California, all of us really haven’t ventured that far from home. My little sister, Mary and family live in Kent, and these days, Kathy, and her husband live in Tacoma. Both are only about an hour from the family farm. Janice and I are in the outpost, here in Burlington, about 100 miles away.
I know on those days when the planets were in alignment, and all of us arrived at the farm, my mother, (even when her health was sliding) would insist on “fixing a little something for lunch.” Of course, as was so often the case, “a little something” was a full fledged banquet of home cooked, often home raised, food.
We’d all sit at the table in the large farm house kitchen. Dad at the head would ask a blessing, using an interesting mix of his best King James and his own special lingo. His opening petition made no mention of the “little something” that was testing the strength of the stoutly built table. No, Pop would bow his head, and in an almost solemn tone say “Lord, I thank thee that thou hast brought all the kids home today.” “Thee,” “thou,” “hast” and “kids” all in the same sentence; that was the Old Man’s Revised King James Version.
When Dad used the term “kids,” to him it was all inclusive. Sure, he and Mom loved seeing me and my two sisters all at the same time, but when Dad prayed, “kids” included Kathy’s husband Bob, Mary’s husband, Randy, and of course, Janice. You see, to Pop, our spouses were as much his own flesh and blood as my sisters and I. It was pure joy for my folks, and sadly it might only happen once or twice a year, if that.
I never thought much about Dad and how he always thanked the Lord for bringing all of us together, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, I really do understand. Like most families these days, our kids have scattered to the four winds. Whereas we measured our distance from our folks in terms of miles, or hours, it seems with our kids distance is measured in states and time zones. For so many of you it’s even a case of oceans and continents separating your families. With Seth in Montana, Grant and Claire in Philly, the times they arrive at the same spot at the same time are precious few. When they do, it is pure pleasure.
Last week, when for one night the “kids” were all home for dinner, I refrained from a King James/Farmer style blessing, but we didn’t dare let the photo-op slip away. So here’s the happy family, eldest son Seth and his very significant girlfriend, Jess on my side, younger son Grant and wife Claire on Janice’s side.