Monday, August 2, 2010

Family Matters

Last week I was occupied with housework – both in my house and on my blog. You probably wonder what kind of housekeeping I’d have to do on my blog and frankly, I’m as surprised as you are since I really have no idea what I’m doing in the first place.

This weekend was also the first reunion of my mom’s family in many years. We used to get together every year for Thanksgiving, but as people moved or died the tradition couldn’t be managed easily, so we planned the first ever cousins reunion for this past weekend. Of my mom’s 6 siblings only 2 sisters-in-law and 13 of the 17 first cousins are still living so it was a special day for all of us.

As I was doing the housekeeping things, I thought about what I’d need to take to the reunion and I listened to the news, watched television, read some magazines, and tried to learn a couple of intelligent things to discuss with my relatives. They are all really, really bright and I wanted them to be impressed by the depth of my astute and insightful mind.

As I was pondering how to become amazingly intelligent in an extremely short period of time, I happened to look out the kitchen window and crouching right next to the grill was a stray cat. We’ve had a couple of them around this summer and I usually just open the door, make a noise, and scare them off. This time though, I watched because the crouching thing this cat had going on was so interesting. (Note: I don’t really know a male cat from a female cat just by observation from my window and would not ever get up close enough to a stray – or any other cat – to look and discover the sex, so I’m calling this cat a he because – well, just because.) He lowered his body, stuck his tail straight up with the tip of it sort of hooked, one paw stretched out and raised like a claw in front of the other, looking like he was getting ready to attack something or someone.

A million thoughts went through my mind, all reminders of the sad day I hosed poor Robbie Zee Robin to death. Was the cat after eggs that Robbie might have left in a nest hidden in the underside of the grill? Did Robbie leave family treasures in the wheel well, maybe reminders of his previous nest or clues as to who might have done him in? Were there other members of Robbie’s family lurking in the grill hoping to catch me unaware and repeat a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds movie and attack me when I went out to the patio?

After about 15 minutes of watching this cat, he made a super quick move, ran under the grill, came out on the opposite side of the grill, assumed attack mode once again, and repeated this over and over until he at last came out with a little chipmunk clenched in his jaw. Of course, the poor chippy was limp, obviously critically ill, and near, or already, dead and probably on his way to dinner as the main course for the cat’s stray cat family.

And this means our grill has become a crime haven, a distressed neighborhood on our patio with an attraction for animal killers even though Robbie Zee Robin’s death was accidental. One more murderous incident and Scott will have step in and clean up Grill Town.

Because of the crime spree in Grill Town, I had no time to develop an impressive intellect as I was preoccupied with the state of the patio neighborhood. 

The weather was spectacular, the company wonderful, and it seemed everyone had a great time at the reunion. We had a lot of laughs, a few tears, so many shared memories, and an abundance of fun. They are all still really, really bright and I’m content to appreciate and learn from each of them. They let me be who I am, just as I am.

I picture my mom, dad, grandparents and all their siblings watching us take the time to reaffirm to each other that there really is nothing more important in life than family. Family matters. And I’ve been blessed with a really good one.

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