I guess all families have their signature rituals and habits. Some families have a thing for lawn games. Others trend towards wine and esoteric conversation. Some like to camp together, shop together and/or beach together.
In my family, there are three main trends:
Food is never far from our minds.
We all like to eat and most of us are good cooks. An empty stomach is an unheard of concept. I’m afraid we can get a bit carried away with the whole cooking and eating thing. For example, my soon-to-be eighty two year old mother is preparing at least three dishes for tomorrow’s potluck. Sure, there will be thirty people to feed, but “Mom,” I keep saying, “They’re all bringing food, too!” But, there’s no fighting mother nature so I plan on arriving two hours early to shuttle food from Mom’s apartment to the party hall.
We like to pick up animals.
Pretty much to a person, if we see an animal we have to pick it up. Enough said.
Disregard for authority and a thirst for adventure.
This is really two trends but they tend to go hand in hand. On Monday, my Aunt Jeanette told us two stories about her mother, my grandmother that highlighted this perplexing trend. Grandma loved the outdoors all of her life. She was known for taking long walks on a daily basis up until she had a stroke at eighty five.
When she was a young girl she once hiked high up the mountain alone, took a nap and had to hike back in the dark. She also was known for taking the boat out despite being warned that a storm was rolling in. Keep in mind that this woman was born in 1900, back when girls were supposed to know their limits.
My brother Joe demonstrated this third trend handily yesterday by climbing over a barbed wire fence to get a better view of things from atop a tower. On at least one occasion he has followed in Grandma’s footsteps by hiking into unknown territory alone and having to find his way back in the dark.
Suffice it to say, Bob and I are having a great time running around with my brothers and their families, getting plenty to eat, lots of animal encounters and enough vicarious adventure to keep us thoroughly entertained.