In my mind, a summer just isn't complete without a family barbeque. I'm sure in some families this is not the definition of summer fun, but I'm lucky enough to be blessed with a great group of relatives who all live close by.
I think that anything cooked on a grill equals GREAT FOOD - especially when your host gets creative by sauteing fresh veggies in a pie platter. Add that with cole slaw, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs and yum! That's my idea of good fun.
Our family recently gathered after not having seen each other for several months, some folks over a year. It shocked me to see how much the kids have grown - one newborn now a sweet, grinning toddler; another growing so tall she's nearly a teenager; and one with such long hair, he looks like a California surfer! We talked about Disney World trips and tips, real estate endeavors, and a war against basement copperheads. We updated each other on work, home and balancing life amongst chaos!
And through all of this chatter, all of this catching up, all of this laughter, it was so interesting to me how the thread of family history weaves it's way into just about everything we discussed. One word, one reference, one look can spin you off into memories from which you can hardly return.
There was one moment that was particularly interesting... we were sitting as a group and talking about my grandfather. My younger cousin leans over to me and says "I really wish I could have known pappy, I've heard so many great things about him." And in that instant a flood of memories tumbled into my mind - how he used to sing a little jingle on his guitar with his handlebar mustache to make my sister and I laugh, how we used to play in his wood paneled art studio covered with framed articles featuring his paintings, how we would fall asleep on the gold carpet of the living room floor by nightlight, comfortable and secure, listening to the quiet ticking of the clock.
All of that in one moment - one flash, like lightening illuminating miles and miles of breathless and beautiful evening sky.
It's fascinating when you actually think about it - in most cases, you're family members are the ones who know you the longest and the best. I have always, and will always, enjoy discussing family history - little snippets of memories here and there that piece together a deep and rich tapestry of my family history. My daughter is more engaged in stories about my childhood than any movie I've ever seen her watch.
There is just something about learning about people who are related to you, shaping who you are and where you've come from. It's grounding in the most basic of ways.
And so I relish the family bar-b-ques, the friendly faces, the shared laughter and the scrumptious food and drinks. It's like blossoming in the summer sun!