My brother B and his wife came to visit me as part of a road trip to see siblings and kids and grandkids. They took the sourthern route from Indiana, through Las Vegas, into Southern California, up through Northern California, and then east to see me. They arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and we lost no time falling into conversation, laughter, and - for my brother - doing stuff. He's a genius at doing stuff, like rebuilding a kitchen in his home - and a bathroom - and a pole barn. So by the time I got up on Wednesday morning, he had removed the switch plate on a wall switch in the bedroom and was trying to figure out what it was wired to. I pointed to an outlet in an unlikely spot.
B: Should be wired to that [he points at the plate on the ceiling where you would expect to see a light.]
B: I'll be damned.
He especially loves a challenge, and by the time I got out of the shower, he had figured out the wiring, which was too weird to dink with, but he had a plan. After breakfast we went to the local Big Box Tools store, bought a ceiling fan, and while S and I were shopping for groceries, he installed it. I've been wanting a ceiling fan in that room for 16 years, and just like that, it's in. Then he hooked the propane tank to my grill (my housemate left it for me when she moved out), showed me how to use it, and S cooked dinner. I could get used to living like this.
But alas! They left here early yesterday morning, got onto I-70, and drove straight through to Terre Haute. They're probably still sleeping. Or B is tinkering out in the barn and S is preparing the next meal. She grows her own vegetables, raises chickens and harvests their eggs, cans pickles and green beans, and grows hot peppers, dries them, grinds them, and uses the pepper liberally on everything she prepares. While she was here, she made the best guacamole I've ever had in my life - and I come from a long line of avocadoes.
Then yesterday afternoon my oldest daughter and her husband drove down from the northeastern-most town in Colorado and stayed last night with me. We had happy hour at Via Toscana, one of those surprise fabulous restaurants located in a strip mall and just around the corner from my house. Imagine this: wild boar fritters with apricot mustardo.
Now my house is quiet but for the fan stirring the still-cool morning air. The sheets are in the dryer, towels in the washer, delicious leftovers in the fridge, and I am feeling flush with love and so connected to family - those I was able to see so recently and those I haven't seen in awhile. We're all connected and we always pick right up where we last left off when we see each other.
Back in the days of Camelot - and LPs, hi-fis and sock hops - there was a record album called The First Family, a charming funny loving take-off on the Kennedys, who were, as you may know, a very large family. And one of Jackie's lines was, "Family, family, family," followed by a sweet little take-off on the TV show, The Waltons.
In those days, I was part of a "family, family, family" of seven kids, two parents, half a dozen aunts and uncles, grandparents, and a bizillion cousins, most located within a few miles of each other. Now we are spread over the western half of the U.S. and still, the old roots are there, so no matter how long it's been between visits, we know who we are.
Family, family, family! Love 'em.