Every summer, as long as I can remember,
relatives have flocked to my parents home for a family gathering.
Potato salad, garden fresh tomatoes, watermelon, grandma’s baked beans and my mom’s apple pie, the best you can find anywhere,
are only some of the favorites that bury the kitchen countertops
and nourish our frames as we visit and catch up and relive past experiences.
Family is always family.
They will always be there.
Friends may come and go, but relationships with relatives last.
The cousins splash and giggle in the water all afternoon,
the adults sprawl leisurely across the house.
Old stories mingle with new,
laughter and snoring mix together as uncle or grandpa takes a snooze.
It is all familiar, nothing exciting, always the same,
and that is the very reason these times are special, relaxing and looked forward to.
It is the simple things in life that I appreciate the most.
It is the sameness of life I recall most clearly and dear to my heart,
how grandma always had pickles on the dinner table,
we always played cards,
we always ate berries and toast with bacon for breakfast,
and grandpa always fell asleep in his chair in the afternoon and snored.
Now that Grandma and Grandpa have gone on to heaven,
my own mom has carried the traditions, and added some new ones, like pony rides,
and some day I will too I suppose, furthering our family’s customs to another generation.
She rocks the baby in the living room, away from all the noisy stories and laughter,
singing to him the same song Grandma used to sing to me.
Uncle is snoring on the couch,
I look around and see a family bonded together
by the simple enjoyments of our traditional summer gathering.
I sigh, contented, drinking it all in again.
Cousin smiles at me sheepishly
as we both reach to fill our plates with another helping of apple pie.