Tag Archives: thankfulness

Loud & Joyeous

22 Nov

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I come from a large family.

…Holidays in our house meant no less than 27 people…with just the one side of Mom’s gene pool, and their immediate families. 

…Kids had their own tables and counter seating arrangements, because there just wasn’t room at the main one for all.  Even with the extender put in, and the extra leg props pushing the main table out, well into the living room…with chairs brought in from the patio and stacks in the garage, we would still sometimes have to squeeze in standing-room-only spaces.

…The kitchen would be stifling before ten A.M. with turkey-cooking and general capacity…with Mom and the aunts stirring things on the stove and fresh baked pies and side dishes arriving more and more by the moment. Two refrigerators full of fixings yet to be cooked and baked…cousins running around, playing games outside, wrapped in layers of coats and scarves, so our red, flushed faces glowed as our breath panted out in clouds of white in the crisp fall air.

In time, all the men, arguing over football plays in the living room, with beers-in-hand, could be heard in bear-like booms of laughter and anxious defeat.  Babies suckling from the newest Moms as they conduct instructions to their sisters, buzzing about in recipe over-drive.  Gram, being everywhere at once, completely in her element…someone losing the stuffing ingredients again, and scouts sent through the house to look in overnight suitcases, and diaper bags to find them. 

…An infusion of noise as the kids break in to thaw out a bit, shoo’d from the kitchen by their mothers.  Infants laid down to nap. New shifts in the kitchen as seating places are being set, and food comes to final bake and boil and plate. Gramps seated at the table’s end, watching all the work, with wry commentaries he gets a kick out of, and to act as official taste-tester on certain sauces and the rutabagas.

…And everywhere, in every room of the house, for all of the day long…loud, loud conversations taking place…only magnified as the day grows longer, by heat and wine and food…excitement, and general people-excess.

…So loud at times, with the men screaming at the TV screen, play-by-play, of the women laughing and telling jokes while cooking, of babies chattering,  the cousins “Haloo-ing” to one another, in hide-and-seek places up and down the hallways…that a moment of solitary in the bathroom during pee breaks, would make your ears ring with it’s silence. 

It felt so removed, those moments. 

…Like a wormhole where you were on one side and everyone else, at the other end…faintly heard in the distance, in gregarious employments, you were only annoyed that mere natural bodily function, was making you miss out on. 

Holidays with our family always made me feel badly for all those three and four-people families. Small, quiet, respectful, classy people…in their formal go-to-chapel best…Holidays like the kind they have in romantic comedy movies.  None of which we are an example of.  We were more of the family Griswold, “National Lampoon” stream, without a doubt…with all the curiosities, eccentricities, dramas and ridiculiousnesses that go with it.  Ask me then, or now: I never in a million years would have changed that, for anything.

As time has passed, spreading our family’s large number, like seeds on the wind, to new corners of the world…some to new corners now, in Heaven…Holidays seem to be more a time of reflection and thankfulness than they ever were before.  Because I can spend a quiet Holiday feast with four people today with the memories and history of those other’s behind it.

…Sometimes, a little sadly, yes.  Because I miss that loud, brazen, bellowing, laughing, arguing, baby-crawling, cousin-playing, surrounding of the truly peculiar breed of humanity that I hail from.  All those frustrating, brilliant, weird bastards, who I love more than anything, and miss like nothing else of bestness, on earth.

On quiet Holidays like today…which I am still so thankful for…I can’t help but remember those we once had in the past.  For all the world, I could swear eight or nine times today…faintly in the distance of my childhood, I could hear it all again.  A wormhole to our family past.  And I wish, more than anything, I could rejoin it, even just one more time…even just for a moment…in all it’s loud, joyous, wonderfulness…with all the people who are of my people, and who I belong to.

…Then, I remember: I can. In memory.  Any time I want to.

…And I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for that, and them, and even (reluctantly), the fact that time has passed and things have been forced to change.

The BFF is home again…even for just a little bit, back in her place at my stove, and me at my place at table: chopping and prepping as we gossip and sing and play on. Last night, after hours of loud joking, and shopping, and laughing, and winking insults, and spur-of-the-moment hugs…(just because we can), because we are here together now…was a many-moment deja vu.

…Later plating and feasting, The Fella and Marty adding to the family, by-turn, as the clock struck further into the night…squealing loud peals of delights over newly uncorked wine, and homemade eats…with everyone telling stories at once, and nobody listening, and bad jokes being played on one another, a tattling of the most embarrassing of stories we have to share…with the TV blaring in the background, and spontaneous bursts of laughter….with new infusions of energy and more friend arrivals as the night went on…well into the early hours of this morning.

…This loudness of epic proportions!

…So persistent and present! So joyous, and irreverent! And so…”my family.”

I realized, the coming of full circle, not once but many, many times across the night.

…Which, to me, is sorta like a wink from above, by those who’ve gone on before, and know me best.

A long story to say: I hope you and yours…be they family of your blood and bones, or of your soul and spirit…had a happy Holiday today.

…Cuz I know me and mine did 🙂

~D

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