I'm truly sorry for the long silence, folks. I've been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, a one legged man in a butt-kicking contest, and a one-eyed cat watching nine rat holes. I hope you'll forgive me.
It all started last Monday when I got a message from my cousin Patrick. We had reconnected on Facebook and found that we had a lot in common. Mind you, his last memory of me was a baby on a blanket, and I only ever knew him from a photograph on top of my grandpa's TV. I suggested that he come up and visit sometime. Well, this urgent message said "call me NOW." Turns out he had a few days free and wondered if it was OK if he'd come up for that visit. OF COURSE! Would I miss a chance like that? Not on your life.
So then it was time to call the rest of the family to see who could come see him while he was here. That involved more cousins who I haven't seen in WAY too long either, aunts, uncles, etc. Offhandedly, I asked what Cousin Patrick would like to have for dinner. He said that he hadn't had veranike in ages.
Folks, for those of you who haven't made veranike, it's a real skill. I think I'm on my way to mastering it, but I have a long way to go. I do take pride in my sour cream gravy though. I told him I could make that happen. "What else?" I asked. Moos. (For those of you non-Germans, it's pronounced mohs, not moose.) Well, I didn't have cherries, but I did have gooseberries aplenty, and they make a fine moos. Done. What else? "Swiebach." My dad leapt into the fray and brought swiebach. I baked up some German sausage and we had a fine meal, even if I DID forget the fried potatoes.
Folks, I simply cannot tell you how awesomely amazing it was to reconnect with FAMILY. I know I love these people simply because they share my blood, but being a grownup and being able to share ideas, values, and inspirations with them just blows me away. I'm amazed that Cousin Emery (who used to tower over me) is just about my height. I'm thrilled for Cousin Donna who looks just like she did 30 years ago. I wish their kids could have come too--they've got some stories I'd like to hear! And you know what? Hearing the comforting murmur of your family getting together and sharing time with each other is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world.
Uncle Paul and Aunt Darlene came the next day, and it was more of the same. Old stories, old memories that somehow never get old. Staying up way too late with a person who until a few days ago had been a stranger and becoming friends. Taking joy in cooking special meals or realizing how much you value the time you can spend. If that's not a blessing, I don't know what is.
Well, then there's the farmers' market. For the first two sessions, I was it. Nobody else. Finally, today, another lady showed up . . .and I think we both did well. Heck, I bought from her. You can never have too many tomato plants. I also brought home another 20 meat chicks earlier this week, so in another 2 months or so, we'll get to slaughter again. Hopefully this time, I'll have my own table. Scott's on a trip to San Francisco, and I get to herd the kids by myself (EEK!) but so far we're doing well. Why yes, I AM sleeping with a pistol under my pillow.
Speaking of doing well, I'd like to thank someone. Tonight at the market, I let the kids run off and play while I manned the table. When I looked over to check on them, they were usually with a brown-haired young man in a blue shirt with an eagle on the front. I'd see him pushing them on the swings, chasing them around the jungle gym, or with them on the merry-go-round. When I got packed up, I went up to him and asked what his name was. It was Jimmy. He didn't tell me his last name, but he looked like an early teenager. I thanked him for keeping the kids entertained. He said it was nothing. When my daughter started to throw a fit when it was time to go home, he still talked to her nicely. Whoever reads this and knows who Jimmy's parents are, they (AND JIMMY!) deserve huge pats on the back. He is a wonderful young man. Jimmy, the world needs more like you.
Sleep tight, folks. I'll get back in the groove!