The month of July was a month of re-connections and reunions with family and friends.  I’m still on a “high” and don’t want to come down anytime soon!
Over the Independence Day holiday, my childhood friend, Dottie and husband Jack, flew in from Arizona for a family wedding. We met for lunch and caught up on families and of course reminisced about those years gone by.  Dottie and Jack “double dated” with Art and I when he’d come home on leave—movies, miniature golf, catching the rides at Rye Playland and of course walking the boardwalk munching on candy apples.  Our four-hour luncheon was packed with memories both happy and bittersweet.

Our cousin Carol travels from Georgia to New York a couple of times a year to visit her daughters and their families.  We usually work in a luncheon or dinner when she’s here.  We did just that a few weeks ago.  We—Pat and Dom, Bob, Rosemarie and I—met Carol for lunch.  I’m always amazed that Bob will bring photos and articles from all those years ago.  He saves everything, he’s our family historian!We shared his treasures which of course prompted memories.

We could almost feel our parents’ presence as we remembered events of the past:  Sunday dinners, births and deaths, staying out past our curfews and  getting a good tongue lashing by our mothers—especially Pat and me!  These times of our lives kind of pushed away all the bad feelings and bitterness of today, even for only a few hours.  We weren’t in a competition, but this luncheon was over three hours!
Later that afternoon, Pat called to tell me that out of the blue, she’d had a phone call from our cousin Mike who lived in Oklahoma.  She’d given him my number and he would be calling.   What a surprise: I hadn’t seen Mike in over 35 years!

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Mike did call and sadly told me his wife passed away in March and he was taking a leisurely and healing road trip to the east coast and was in New York.  We tried to get together for dinner the next evening, but our schedules were not going to let this happen.  So we did the next best thing: talked for over an hour.  I was astonished by all that he remembered about our family; that he, too, had suffered the loss of two spouses, was a dad and grandfather and was now happily a great-grandfather.  We exchanged phone numbers so that we can text or call each other.  Our promise?  Stay in touch!

As we were leaving the restaurant after lunch with Carol, I mentioned to Bob how blessed we were to be a part of a family that had the love, laughter and happy memories. 

He quietly answered: “Yes we are, but don’t forget, we had the tears also.”  Yes we did, many of them, but we came together and provided the support, love and strength when needed.  We could always count on family.