Monday, April 27, 2009
My Family's DNA
Ahhh, Florida. We are having a wonderful time. Friday when we arrived we went to dinner at Shrimpers and ate under a thatched roof beside the water. Laughing and talking with my wonderful Mom and Dad as we basked in the glow of their company. Saturday my dear cousin and her great husband came for a family dinner party. Her sweet mom, my aunt, died recently and as you might guess we had much to catch up on. We celebrated her Mom and her wonderful Dad in reminiscing about fun, family facts - we all have them. Dad and Mom clearly loved bringing us together for a special time. We talked about life and teased my Mom and Dad endlessly. My mother worries about what might appear in the blog. To tease her I say, "I think I'll post this in the blog." which prompts an "If you do I'll disinherit you!" Truly what some think are secrets are things that to others are just too good not to be shared.
The high spot of the night was my Dad recounting a video he saw online. Apparently a young bull entered a grocery store and terrorized the shoppers. One man used a grocery cart to defend himself against the bull. For my Dad the part that caused him to literally laugh so hard tears rolled down his cheeks was the sight of one man running down the aisle of the store being chased by the bull. Dad loves these vignettes where people are confounded by a situation and they react in a primal way. He shared that he watched the video many times with the same result. Seeing Dad laugh so deeply and with his whole self was wonderful for us. It was a happy time.
Last night we had an impromptu cocktail party with the children of Mom and Dad's friends. They've taken over the condo and were spending a few days enjoying Florida. They are great company and share Mom and Dad's passion for OSU and things football. Today we started the formal process of their departure from Florida. They are packing some things to be shipped and sorting the things we'll transport back in their car. Dad and I made an Alaskan King Crab dinner with prosecco and spinach salad we enjoyed on the porch overlooking the St. Lucie river. Happy times are cooking with my family - Dad and I discussing earnestly what we need to do and Mom darting in to offer her own pearl of wisdom or ask a question that prompts a look from my Dad. Lee loves to sit in a chair with a drink and gaze out at the water. My Mom says Lee is waiting for her captain to return. We're planning an eco tour by boat for tomorrow. The captain called while we were eating dinner last night so that started more levity. Lee's captain didn't return but at least there was a call!
Dad couldn't make it this past weekend to the opening of his trout club. My sisters and their respective partners were there in Mom and Dad's stead. Dad was obviously missed as he received several calls and emails from folks who care deeply for Mom and Dad to let him know they were thinking about him and wishing he could join them. This is the first time he's missed an opening in decades and I know he would have liked to have been there. Mom and Dad have committed themselves to making sure our family and friends have opportunities to create memories in wonderful places. There is the trout club, the Florida condo, our family vacation in the summer and wherever Mom and Da are living at the time.
In very Mom and Dad fashion they offer these places to people they hold dear. This weekend there were several calls to my sisters to check on things. Mom and Dad relished hearing from my sister and her husband about the great time they had, the state of fishing there, the evening card games and who all was there. They'll be checking with my other sister when the return home, too. Mom and Dad are overjoyed when family and friends enjoy themselves in a place they hold dear.
All of this is ever a reminder of the importance of family and friends, memories and events and the rituals we hold dear that form the glue of our lives and our hearts. All of this will form the core of conversations and generate numerous recountings of stories and activities that will fill us with laughter and memories in the years to come. Seeing how much all of us love and feel connection to these places and the time shared together is almost is so grounding and to me so much the story of my family. This shared DNA surrounds us and connects us as a web which is spun from love and joy, generosity and selfless enjoyment of the pleasure of others that feels as good as our own and the appreciation of what it means to be a part of this wonderful network of people. Thank you Mom and Dad for one of life's best gifts - you!
Our dessert tonight was Palm Beach brownies. I made it the easy way - not from scratch. For the purists I will redo the recipe with the scratch ingredients at a later date. This is vacation! In an example of my parents' thoughtfulness of others my Mom told me several times I had to make these for my brother-in-law Tom who is a chocolate maven.
Palm Beach Brownies
1 package dark chocolate brownie mix (9x9 pan size)
prepare batter according to package directions but DO NOT BAKE.
1 19 ounce bag of York peppermint patties
1 small canister fudge frosting
Spray a 9X9 pan with Pam. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Unwrap the patties and place a single layer of them on the brownie batter. Because they don't fit perfectly cut some of the patties in halves or quarters to cover the brownie batter. (You will have some patties left over to enjoy while the brownies bake.) Carefully spoon the other half of the batter over the patties and spread to cover. Bake about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool the brownies and spread with half of the frosting. Eat the rest of the frosting if you are Lee, waiting until you can consume a brownie.