Carl and Linda visited last year, and we hiked Stone Mountain in 100-degree heat. We survived and -- wonder of wonders -- Carl and Linda returned this year with daughter-in-law Amy. This year, I was more sane in my suggestions, and I also wanted dearly to connect old friends with new -- to gather my widening circle of family around me.
Linda is an expert break maker. "Will you teach me?" I asked. And she did.
"Want me to cook?" asked daughter Hannah. Oh, yes, please.
We volunteered Carl and Jim to be documentary photographers. They laughed so heartily at their outtakes, I snapped a photo of them at work.
Jerry and Cyndi walked in carrying guitars. "We're just followin' instructions," they said.
"I brought a chocolate cake from Ruthie," said Laurie.
With introductions all around, a savory Mexican lasagna on the table, fresh bread from the oven, and a salad tossed together with lots of hope and affection, 12 of us feasted together, told stories, laughed and joked and asked great questions, listened intently, and pulled the ice cream out of the freezer to go with the cake.
As the sun set and the candlelight played across our faces, I put some decaf in the French press, the guitars came out of their cases, and my banjo made its first live appearance.
We picked and strummed and sang while we enjoyed the breeze and the conversation. This is what life is all about. Breaking bread and making history, one with another.
Thank you, friends. Thank you, family.