Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We Get Together

The local Cancer Society chapter found a great way to promote Cancer Awareness Month. There's going to be a drawing, with the winner to receive - are you ready? A free colonoscopy check!! Who says we don't have the world's greatest healthcare system? USA! USA!

We just concluded a big family gathering. The occasion? My, ah, birthday. One of those that ends in a zero. The household went in a heartbeat from two people to fifteen, with more at a nearby motel. Five of the eleven total grandchildren made it, none over the age of five. Consumption of all kinds spiked immediately. Garbage production quadrupled. Airplane tickets, full tanks of gas and various junk foods were all supplied. The gathering started last Thursday and ended today (Tuesday), with the departure of our oldest son & family. Twelve hours later, we're catching up on laundry and checking out the birthday CD's. We aren't sure if everyone left something behind or not, but we can vouch for the large carbon footprint of the whole affair.
Of course, stimulating the economy can be fun, and we had plenty of that. Geography keeps us from gathering more often from the nation's four major time zones, so we try to make up for months of phone and e-mail only contacts.
Here are the highlights, not all planned in advance: my regular partner and I took on our younger son and one of the sons in law in a game of no-mercy tennis doubles. Chalk up a "W" for the old guys. Maybe next time we'll be forced to compete in skateboarding or some other young guy duel. We gathered in a Chinese restaurant and offered praise and thanks for each other. A few gifts were opened, including one from the two-piece suit fairy. We cooked at the beach on the Pacific, not easy when rain is getting blown in by a stiff, cold wind. A decision that may change a family's future was made, and another one was announced.
But if I had to pick my favorite high point of the weekend, it was our chance to sing together to a congregation of 150 or so at church. This was especially nice because the family is no longer united in its beliefs, though we try not to let that get in the way of enjoying each other. We had practiced, and I was pretty sure that getting musical training at the same high school (youngest excepted) would pay off. We achieved four part harmony, not in a show off way, but in conveying a spiritual feeling to the congregation. They're almost all now friends of the wife and me, but unknown to the rest of us except for our youngest daughter. We overcame our winter coughs and were, if you can say this about something at church, a hit. No applause, but lots of compliments after the meeting. It was fun being gracious too, believe me.


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