Tag Archives: family reunion

Cooked Goose

Cooked Goose

As I face her contumely with stoic restraint,
I may seem cavalier, but really I ain’t.

I’ve grown used to her holiday gloom and depressions
when she is exposed to these family sessions.

After so many years, I’m attuned to the drill,
though I must admit that I’ve had my fill
of her bigoted grandpa, her silly vain mom,
her brother whose jokes are always a bomb.

Her sister who views our clothes with derision,
the grandmother who cannot reach a decision
on what kind of pie—pumpkin, chocolate or peach?
So she always ends up with a little of each.

Her nieces and nephews all stupid and spoiled,
and the Christmas goose that always tastes boiled.
Why do we attend each new family blast
when we always go home feeling slightly aghast?

I must say their whole group has failed at the game,
for a family should be far more than a name.
We swear every holiday will be our last,
but I fear nonetheless that our lot has been cast.

We’ll continue to dread every Christmas and Easter—
every occasion to become a feaster
on gummy plum pudding and cold slimy fowl,
for though we curse and  grumble  and growl,

for birthdays and weddings, we’ll load up the car
and drive those long miles to come from afar
repeating this ritual year after year,
for this is the family that we hold dear!



Prompt words are holiday, cavalier, stoic, contumely and passage. Fiction, folks, fiction. Written from the point of view of a long-suffering male spouse. My husband did not feel this way about my family, really.

Beach Rendezvous

Beach Rendezvous

Your andante whistle matches your advance—measured and slow, as though you know where you are going, but are in no hurry to get there. You’ve grown weird and amphibious—spending equal time in water and on land, a surfboard your new mount, your cowboy hat metamorphosed into a billed cap worn backwards.

You have achieved some notoriety due to that prowess in water that you never found on dry land. You, who crashed cars into traffic cones and bicycles into fences, weave effortlessly from wave to wave, then ride their crests. You nosh on kale and granola, leaving McDonald’s in the past. Who would ever guess that this cowboy farmer would start surfing from scratch at the age of thirty, thereby achieving a fame he’d never earned in the rodeo?

You scratch your forehead, freeing a long blond lock from its imprisonment, pull off your cap and take a playful swap at my shoulder as we draw close enough to share a hug, a kiss.  Classmates our whole lives from elementary school through college, we have somehow slipped into different generations—you the proverbial beach boy surfer, me the middle-aged mommy herding kids away from sand crabs and beached stingrays, you gliding between them on water, already a fixture in this cool beach town–your whole life composed of what for me is an occasional weekend visit lugging picnic basket, beach towels, blanket, umbrella and three children aged four to ten.

“Daddy!” the kids scream, running toward us streaming seawater from their heels. One by one, you grab them under their arms, spinning them in wild circles, then, with the smallest one on your shoulders and grasping the hands of the others on either side, you make off for the water to reacquaint them with their aquatic side. The picture I took that day shows four kids playing in the water. I had given birth to three of them. You gave birth to the fourth.

Prompt words today are andante,amphibious, scratch, achieving, nosh and weird.

Grandpa’s Pronouncement at the Family Reunion

Grandpa’s Pronouncement at the Family Reunion

“Pack up all your suitcases, we’re going on vacation.
Don’t forget your sleeping bags and some alimentation.
We’re heading out in two hours for the challenge of your lives,
so load up all your kids and hurry up your wives.
I’m making a pronouncement that perhaps you won’t agree with,
but since you are the folks that I most enjoy to be with,
I spent all of your legacies on this giant bus
that it is my fondest wish to fill with only us
and set out for the summer having various adventures.
Most likely we’ll get lost and perhaps Gram will lose her dentures,
but all-in-all we’ll have great times that no one will forget.
You’re going to spend this summer with the finer set.

I’ve cleared it with your bosses. I’ve contacted your friends.
No need to call anyone. No need to make amends.
You’ll live without your boyfriends for a month or two.
Just tell them that your family needs some time with you.
Go and find your places–kids all in the back.
I have some games to play with you while your mothers pack.
No phones, laptops or notebooks are allowed aboard the bus.
I want communication to be narrowed down to us.
I’ll teach you snakes and ladders, Monopoly and Chess.
You can beat your Uncle Tom and your Auntie Bess,
your grandma and your sisters, your cousins and your brother.
Why bother to beat someone else when you can beat each other?”

The ending you might well project. The mom’s find fault. The kids object.
But once he’d packed us all inside and started out on our grand ride,
we settled down and all joined in to get to know their closest kin
and all in all, that summer trip, each tent-pitching, each skinny dip
turned into one fine memory, just as Gramp knew it would be!

(Click on photos to enlarge and view as slide show.)


Prompt words today are pronounced, legacy, challenge, alimentation and suitcase. Sadly, this is fiction and the photos a compilation of various friends and family. I wish this had happened, but alas, it didn’t. The fourth photo is a picture of part of my actual family.

Family Reunion: Final Spin

Family Reunion: Final Spin

The first couple on the dance floor were surely insignificant.
Bent-over spines and frosted hair made them less magnificent
than all the younger dancers who came out to surround them—
making them invisible as they grouped all around them.
The music started and the pairs all commenced their waltzing—
with glides and dips, extended arms, and all that fancy schmaltzing.
Soon, however, they backed off from something in the middle.
Voices hushed throughout the room until only the fiddle,
piano and the clarinets were heard in the night air
as all the others dancers watched a central pair
of waltzers gliding o’er the floor, eyes wrapped up in each other,
once again that little girl just dancing with her brother,
magically suspended in those steps taught by their mother.

The prompt words today are frosted, pair, insignificant and waltzing. And, the cat bit me on the tip of my little finger today and I’m wearing a bandaid, so forgive any typing errors. Especially regarding ‘”[{}]or/?  It may have been a very aggressive love nip or a hurry up and feed me nip or an excessive response to a really good ear scratch/neck rub, but whichever it was, it was very naughty and brought blood. Perhaps vestigial remains of the blood moon of a few nights ago.


Family Reunion, Off the Grid

Click on first photo to enlarge all.  




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.


Gathering Family

Tonight marked the end of our two day family reunion with my mother’s side of the family. The matriarch is Jane, 90 years old, and the youngest was Maddie the miracle baby, age 9 months. I am somewhere in the middle, but closer to Jane by one year as of midnight.  I unfortunately don’t see these lovely people often enough, but every time I am around them I’m appreciative of their closeness and acceptance of either others’ differences.

I had a wonderful time, as you might be able to gather from these photos. (You might want to click on them to enlarge them.)  The statue of Lincoln marks the highest point on the Lincoln Highway. We passed it this morning as we drove from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Laramie to visit Jane in her daughter Sara’s house. In college, the art class I was in came up on a cold blustery day to scrub him down with acid. Yesterday, we just stopped to admire him in his new spot next to the new wider interstate road.  He’s been raised up a good deal on a very high pedestal, so I wouldn’t relish giving him a scrub now.

The other photos were taken in three different locations as different events were held in three different homes. Representing my mother’s branch of the family were my niece Cindy, my sister Patti and I.  All of the rest were descendants of my mother’s sister Peggy and their spouses.  Lots of laughter, fun, memories, discoveries and great food.