Sunday, September 23, 2007

Family....

Blood is thicker than water.... It was a quick overnight trip Saturday to visit family in the Richmond area. All the cousins and their families gathered at a cousin's place for an evening cookout and grand old time of visiting, laughing, and enjoying strengthening those ties that make us family.

We are a large family ... my maternal grandparents raised 10 children ... so there are cousins all over the Richmond area (and throughout Virginia). We grew up together, we married and raised families, and we've stayed close throughout the years even though a couple of us have moved from that area.

I'm one of the younger cousins since my mom was the youngest child of that brood of kids ... all her siblings are now gone ... so these are the memories we cherish. We lost one of us two years ago ... he was the first of my generation to die after fighting cancer ... so we take nothing for granted.

It was a quick trip -- over yesterday and back today -- with some observations along the way....

The kitchen is the heart of a home ... it's proven over and over ... and it was no different last night. Although folks were scattered throughout the house and on the patio, the kitchen remained crowded as we clustered together to help the cook and visit and catch up with goings-on since the last time we were all together....

The next generation was represented by my 11-year-old niece and my two kids, ages 19 and 23. The others couldn't be there but will be at the Christmas gathering, some with children of their own....

Since I was in Flora McDonnell's part of the world I gave her a quick call ... there were many candidate signs along Rt. 60 and I was anxious to talk with her about the ones she's volunteering for and the state races in general. God bless her Marine son who just deployed for his second trip to the Middle East....

There were renegade leaves changing color in the Richmond area, too. Fall is definitely on the way although the weather there today was hot and muggy....

Like mother ... like daughter ... like daughter.... I remember as a little girl visiting my grandmother, and she and my mother would go out into the yard to walk and look at the flowers, bushes, fruit trees, and the garden. I tagged along on those rambling walks those many years ago ... and today I flashed back to that memory when Mom said, "Let's walk around the yard and look at things...."

So we strolled around looking at elephant begonias that have returned in the same spot for years, red buds, towering river birches ... the corkscrew willow, the rose garden full of magnificent bushes of various names tenderly cared for by my step-dad ... the garden swing with wisteria growing across its arbor, butterfly bushes, huge boxwoods and smaller ones being nurtured in the "nursery" area, and many flowers I don't know the names of.

And as my daughter joined us mid-way through our journey there was yet another generation walking the property ... surveying the grounds ... looking over what had been grown and cultivated by hard work. And I realized it must be in our blood ... from the great-great-great-grandparents on down through the generations, those who had been farmers, ending with my grandfather who was the last to farm ... but the love and pride of working the land has continued, not in crops, but in flowers, shrubs, and trees.

It was a quick trip home to see family ... and was fulfilling in more ways than one.

2 comments:

Scott said...

Great writing!!! It brought back memories of so long ago when I was younger. Yearly trips to our old Kentucky family home. Drives around the countryside visiting places, long vacant but with family history.

THanks for the flash back... I needed that today...

SWAC Girl said...

Family ... it's our anchor.

My grandparents have been gone for years but I enjoyed hearing their stories of the way life was back then.

I still hunger for those stories and so whenever we're at the family homestead in Grayson County I fill up with family history.

Will be going back soon for our annual family reunion and looking forward to once again visiting the old cabin homeplace on the knob that was built by my great-grandparents....