Thursday, April 1, 2010

Family Reunion

We were fortunate to have stumbled into an impromptu family reunion on Tuesday. My Dad's brothers and sisters descended on us bearing armloads of classic heritage foods and by doing so, did more for my father's well-being than any medicine could. I had not seen Uncle Andy, Aunt Nadine or Aunt Kate in over a decade and they were all as witty and vital as ever. Aunt Kate is a hoot and a holler and has always been one of my favorite relatives. Uncle Andy recently returned from a trip to Israel and remains a great storyteller and my 91-year-old Aunt Nadine may have slowed down but is still a corker. Their visit happened to fall on my last full day of living at my parent's as well as the day my sister Shirley arrived to begin her tour of duty. I could not come up with the last time these seven people were in the same room. We even got to take Dad to his first lunch outing since bein' paroled from the hospital pokey.

Now about that food the relatives brought.....

Perusing the bounty my aunts and uncles brought was like taking a stroll down memory lane and exploring family food history at the same time. The horseradish pickles reminded me of my grandmother Grace's pickles, which she always had on hand. Andy and his wife Antoinette made wonderful homemade biscotti. There were jars of pickled beets and eggs as well as homemade pepperoni rolls. Heaping containers of homemade vegetable soup and chili and deviled eggs. Homemade bread and cookies. Many tastes of my childhood were mixed with some tasty new offerings.

Spending the day with extended family and noshing on some old faves was a great way to prepare for my departure. While being relieved to begin the return to my life, it tore my heart out to say goodbye to the folks. They've never seemed more fragile and there were many tears. The awful hole that forms in the pit of my stomach when I say goodbye to them has become a cavern.

Life continues to roll, though....and I'm going to get back in it the same way I've learned to handle it through these past few day at a time.


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