Family Reunion, Off the Grid

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Family Reunion, Off the Grid

We find the key to the lake cabin
there where it always was above the eaves trough,
enter that family space deserted for so many years
and claim our old rooms.
Bring in firewood piled on the porch thirty years ago
and draw together at the trestle table
over dinners gathered
from the ice chests in the trunks of cars.

Dependent for so many years
on cell phones, e-mail and Facebook,
we grow listless over the loss of cell tower and wifi,
fall back on family videos from the far past,
and having exhausted that sparse shelf,
resort to family albums, dusty with accumulated years.

Over those cryptic signals from the past,
we begin to remember more,
and recall scraps of ourselves
that give a meaning to the name of scrapbook.
With no single screens possible,
we draw together over simple common images.

Dad in the neighbor lady’s hat,
sis in diapers and my mother’s heels,
my tea towel sarong and doily hat,
Mother, young enough to be our granddaughter,
in a stylish hat tipped down over one eye,

Middle sister standing triumphant at the top
of the slide she later fell from the top of—
a past truth I might have never known
if not sealed up, like this,
away from the wider world
and those parts of ourselves
that keep flying off to it.

I take her hand, grateful for her survival.
Just the two of us, now,
everyone else sealed up in this peeling album.
We put them to sleep again as we close its cover.
In the morning, restore the key,
nestle the “For Sale” sign more securely
into its mooring place and divide to our separate worlds,
the box of videos under my arm,
the family scrapbooks under hers.

The prompt words are past, video, listless and dependent.

9 thoughts on “Family Reunion, Off the Grid


    Thanks for giving us a pee?k at your nostalgic, happy/sad memories. I too have been going through the old photos, annual (church) camp and other summer camp outings on the gulf. I am in the process of copying and sending them on to the children and grand children and even great grand children, who were not even born at that time and even have families of their own. Will they feel the joy we had~? But I do have the joy of the memories. I am happy to tell you that many are being sent right into your own neighborhood in Mexico~!

    That was such a different world wasn’t it ~! My grand kids come to visit me and spend the whole time playing games on a cell phone..while their dad and I talk about all the fun of his growing up and all the things and places we had together. Will they have such memories~? Will they be too old when they finally desire to know about their antecedents, but by that time they will only have a yellowing old photo, often not even identified and will not know about our lives. But I do write on the back of the photos, and write~?; oh how I write, because I am the last of the line in my immediate family, and somehow feel that it is my duty.



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