Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 21, 2006: Family Season Begins

Friends, take heed. When you call me, you'll be answered with a deep, gruff, "This is Jim." The holiday season has officially started: my parents have arrived from New York. Dinner conversation tonight is only a foretaste of things to come: we talked of New Zealand, apartheid, scarab beetle tie clasps, cryogenics, germplasm maintenance, 60s ties, and noninstrumental churches. Forget the kids reporting on various daily events. When my parents are here, dinner conversations take surprising twists, and it's not unusual for Randy and my father--both scientists by trade--to spend a solid hour at the dinner table discussing history or all of us listening to my father's stories. With 81 years behind him, he has a lot of stories.

I am unspeakably blessed in so many ways to have my parents live in here 5 months of each year. Not only are my children growing up with their grandparents right next door, but I get to spend precious time with my parents. And how many spouses would delight in their in-laws living next door, sharing the supper table, for half the year? I love my husband even more for his utter generousity of spirit. He simply loves having them here. Funny how the similarities between Randy and my father grow stronger every year...

And so the family season begins. Tomorrow we bake pies, roll out noodles, and thaw a turkey. My brothers and their families, who live less than an hour away but whom we rarely see during the "off season," will start popping in. My kids will be reminded that they have cousins. There will be evening card games and trips to Dollywood, lots of raking and yard maintenance, and my mother's fabulous side dishes.

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