I've worked harder this week than my wizened work ethic allows in a whole month. After each day's work, I've gotten cleaned up and spent time with family. This extended week has afforded me casual time with my dad's extended family that I've not had in over a decade. Most of my trips home involve dashing among houses over a weekend or, at most, four days during the holidays when enormous food and great-grandchildren steal the show.
I've not been able to "hang out" with my dad's family without scheduling it ahead of time since I was in elementary school when I visited every other weekend to see Dad. Tonight was my last night of the week I could linger at the farm (Mama, Kelli, and I are going to the Coast tomorrow for the evening), so I spun a little genius and came up with a plan.
While sitting on the exposed sub-floor tugging out upholstery tacks with needle-nosed pliers, I saw a bottle of unclaimed (i.e. left on the floor for the last six months) cheap sparkling wine. I also had on hand an empty mop bucket and a fridge that has done nothing but churn out ice for an empty house. So I texted all the womenfolk who were on the farm that night and told them to meet up with me. Kelli brought pizza, I iced down the ballatore in the mop bucket, and I gathered my Gamaw, step-mother Rita, Aunt Alethea, cousin Sarah, and Kelli's roommate Crystal on the front porch of my family's 140-year-old farmstead.
I poured us all a toasting round of oversweet bubbly in red solo cups, and we sat for two hours talking. These are the memories I crave, that I feel like I miss out on by living so far away. It might have been nothing special to anyone else, but it was magical for me.