Thursday, October 13, 2016

PORCH STORIES: FAMILY

I am not sitting on my front porch today. I spent the last five days visiting my family in the west which was four days and twelve hours more than my mind could take. Today I am sitting in my front room next to the fire place appreciating the quiet. Chip is with me sitting in his comfortable chair reading.

Visiting family is always exciting. You get to see how the children have grown and learn about family successes. But, after about twenty-four hours everyone is all caught up on who graduated from: preschool, kindergarten,  elementary school, middle school, high school and college; and we know who was getting married and who was pregnant. Then, unfortunately, someone starts sharing the: failures, problems, complaints, sickness, disease, and deaths which generates more conversation than the good news did.

Day two  of my trip was filled with visits to my elder family members, mostly women who had outlived a husband or two. I respectfully listened to doctors reports about: ‘sugar-diabetes,’  pressure problems, aches and pains and so forth. These reports were always, always, followed by “but the Lord has been good to me.”

By day three I had seen everyone who, out of respect, needed to be seen and I was ready to sit on the front porch of someone’s house and enjoy the sun or go to my hotel and sit by the pool. Instead I had to, well I didn’t have to but I did, sit and listen to the cousins I grew up with talk about their lives.

Do I sound snobby? I consider myself eccentric. I am stuck in my ways and my opinions and it is difficult for me to relax and be around people who are very negative- most of my family is negative. And they don’t drink any type of alcoholic beverage!

Footnote to all of you who think you can enjoy yourself without alcohol. You are absolutely right if you are around enjoyable people. If you like to complain and point out problems then you would have found my day three company perfect. I found being around people who were complaining about the same thing they had been complaining about since we graduated high school aggravating. Since I don’t take anti-depressants a glass of wine would have soothed my nerves.

Note to self righteous Christians who think Christians should not drink any form of alcohol. If that is what you believe don’t drink; if you come to my house I will offer you lemonade or water.

Anyway, as the day turned to evening and the ladies started getting ready to begin their gossip ritual I text my daughter, from the bathroom, instructing her to call me and get me out of the house before I started a family feud. Thirty minutes later she had called her father and told him to tell me to call her as soon as I had some quiet time because she had something important to tell me. So, the concerned mother that I was, told my cousins I would talk to them later I wanted to go to the hotel and talk to my baby!

Of course Chip knew what I was up to.

Day four I spent the morning on the telephone assuring my cousins that all was well with my daughter and letting them know that she was not getting married nor was she pregnant. “No! She did not have an abortion” I informed one cousin.

After breakfast in the hotel Chip and I spent the day touring the town. I had spent the previous three days interacting with family. Though I have been complaining a lot it really was good to see them all, after all these are the people I grew up with.

That evening Chip and I went to visit a friend of his. He and Chip were like brothers so this was like a mini-family reunion for the two of them. Roberto, the name of Chips friend, and his wife Maria visited us about once a year and every other year we would vacation together but this was the first time we had been to their home. After taking a tour of their beautiful home I followed Maria through the house to the back yard, the men gathered around the grill. When I arrived at the pagoda I was absolutely surprised  to see a rocking chair with a note that read: “RESERVED FOR MISS NETTIE.”

“Welcome home!” Maria smiled,all I could do was hug her.

I did not have to ask because it was clear that Roberto had made this chair in his workshop, it matched the one he made for me that sits on my front porch at home.

Chip and I sat with Maria and Roberto until late in the night. We talked about growing plants and raising animals, they had chickens, cows and pigs. We talked about how blessed we were to have such wonderful children. We talked about how wonderful our grandchildren were. We planned a trip to the mountains for a week in the fall and then it was time to go. Before we left Roberto prayed for Chip and I. I was thinking- this is family!

As I sit by the fireplace remembering my trip I contemplated not going next year but then I changed my mind; no one agrees 100% with anyone not even with the family you grew up with. However, family is not just people who share DNA.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! Psalm 133:1 THE VOICE


A PORCH STORY- according to the world of NETTIE. All rights reserved; do not use without the permission of Marsha L F Randolph