My definition of family has expanded considerably over the past five years. A friend says her family isn’t defined by bloodlines, but by love-lines. The same is true for me.
I felt sort of bummed that our family wouldn’t be getting together to share a meal this weekend, since my dad’s gone and Mom’s out of town. I hadn’t voiced my disappointment about not having plans with family over Labor Day weekend to anyone, not even Kevin. Imagine my surprise and delight when a member of our Cursillo family e-mailed us an invite to an impromptu Sunday barbecue at his place. I responded immediately to count us in.
It’s been years since my dad’s stood over the grill while we hung around outside waiting for dinner to be ready. More recently, Kevin and I have enjoyed cook-outs with his family those times when we’ve been able to get back up to their cottage on Lake Ontario for a visit. Neither prospects were options for this weekend.Sitting out on the deck with friends, who by love-lines have become family, talking, laughing, eating, hearing stories about college pranks…were just what we needed this holiday weekend.
We sprayed ourselves with insect repellent, loaded up our glasses with a secret Burns’ family recipe iced tea, and relaxed on the deck. Terry told stories about his days at St. John Fisher College, where both of my parents went, and Dan joined in with tales of drinking and gallivanting with his football buddies. Joe fired up two grills: one for the hamburgers and the other for the corn on the cob and hot dogs. We called over to him where he stood manning the burgers as a cloud of smoke spread out over the yard and surrounding properties.
When all the food was ready, we moved inside to partake. One group sat in the kitchen, and the rest of us ate in the dining room. The food was delicious. We shared more stories, saw pictures of the pilgrimage John and Joe took recently, talked about work, books, movies, TV, sports, family, and faith.
I am very grateful for the impromptu barbecue. The grill going, drinks flowing, food piled high blended with the stories from days gone by reminded me of my dad and how great it can be to gather with family.