The phone lines were all lighting up earlier this week with the news that my great aunt and uncle would be in town. Their son (and my mom’s cousin), Robert, lives on Bainbridge Island. Kevin and I were both delighted, and we managed to skip out of work early to race to the ferry on Wednesday. We made the 5:30 ferry with minutes and minutes to spare (yay!) and Robert’s kids were able to make it, too, so it was quite the dinner party. Irene made us all Chicken Paprikash for dinner – a great meal and a fun family tie as that’s one of the recipes that Mom copied from Irene in the early 80’s, and I copied from Mom when I moved out to Seattle. After dinner, we went through some of the photos my mom had recently sent of the Denver Crew. I’d gone through all of the photos and culled ones with the family from 1979-82. There was lots of exclaiming over old girlfriends, mustaches, how young everyone was, and how old I am now compared to the baby photos. 🙂
Perhaps after four-plus years on the West Coast I’m particularly starved for family contact, but I do have to say that it is a treat to have an evening with family and to revel in all of those shared connections. Despite not having had that much contact over the years, I still feel like they were a known presence when we were growing up. It’s amazing how quickly everyone settles into family mode – that certain mix of shared stories and catching up and belonging. I can never get over how much Uncle Bob reminds me of Papa (my grandfather). I hope that when I’m that age people can talk to me and know without a doubt that I’m related to my siblings, even if we haven’t always lived in the same place. That would be a great thing.
I made the mistake of taking out the camera late, and then only taking photos when people were talking over decaf and wine, instead of asking them to stop and smile. Oops. Hopefully you’ll get the sense of all of us enjoying gabbing away about so many subjects, from family history to current activities, to all of the recent energy and financial issues.
And one with Robert in it. 🙂
One of the exciting pieces of the night was that I finally got Bob to sign my painting. We have two of his paintings – one of the San Juan Mountains near Pagosa Springs that Bob and Irene gifted us for our wedding, and one that Bob painted on an autumn visit to my grandparents in MA. My grandparents gave me the Fall painting in 2003 when I moved into my new apartment in Boston. It was my first real art. 🙂 I’ve always loved it, but it wasn’t signed, and now it finally is.