Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Simple Pleasure of Family

A momentous day: our oldest son's middle school graduation.

Papa and Memaw's first grandson to enter high school.  (Shout out to Grandparents Wood for sending a sweet card and gift.)

Clutching our proud graduate.

Let them eat cake...when they graduate!

Baby shower brunch for cousin Taylor's wife Kellen at this beautiful barn.

The female half of our family (note I have no one to bring:)).

Family with the beautiful mom to be.

The good stuff!

I think we were placed at the kid table:).

Outside the barn and next to the orchard sat a "trampoline pillow."

For those concerned, we "old folks" were allowed to jump too.

 As you can see, we didn't have a bit of fun.

 Love this one.


 Cooper spent most of the afternoon circling the pond looking for critters.

Sweet cousin Taylor"chauffeured" the younger set around the farm.

Taylor was very popular among the kids.

The backdrop for the party.

This spitfire (Great Uncle Bud) is a totally healthy 97 year old!  He drove himself to the party!

Cousins.  I actually hate how I look in this photo, but I love the people in the picture.  (Do you ever look at a picture and think "I should have rethought that outfit?")

Yesterday, the family descended on my aunt and uncle's farm to celebrate my cousin's weekend return home from the Air Force and his wife's pregnancy.

In the morning, we celebrated the mother-to-be at a baby shower.  The loft of a nearby apple orchard was the perfect spot to dine on a brunch and visit with relatives.  

Under the rustic wooden beams and among the fruit trees, we sat around tables and feasted on yogurt parfaits and mini muffins.  The room filled with lively chatter, the sort that is best had between family and lifelong friends.  The gifts were dear, baby books that seemed to hold a special place to each and every giver.

After the last present was opened and the guests had trickled out, the core family returned to the farm.  Because there is never enough food at family functions, a cheese platter, a crockpot of ham, and an assortment of other goodies filled the dining room.  We piled up our plates again.  It's a rule, I believe, that calories don't count at family functions.   When our bellies felt like they would burst, we fluttered around the yard.

The four wheeler was dragged out of the barn.  Cousin Taylor patiently took child after child on a mobile tour of the grounds.  Each passenger returned windblown and giddy.  Other children tossed a football and kicked a soccer ball out by where the old outhouse used to sit.

The adult relatives found chairs in the shade and drank Coke out of plastic cups.  They freely exchanged memories, opinions, and life updates.  Great Uncle Bud, age 97, seemed to steal the show.

My son pointed to his Great-Great Uncle and asked me, "What's the secret to him getting to 97?"

After a moment of reflection, I hushed back, "I think it's because he is grateful."

Cooper and my nephew Will spent most of their time enthralled with the simple pleasures found at the farm.  The pond. The wildlife. The rocks. The trees.

Cooper, Will, and I circled the farm's pond.  They were on a hunt for any sort of scaly or creepy (my words) creature.  The pond appeared to be teeming with possibilities.  On more than one occasion, a frog popped out from among the brush and algae.  Much to their dismay, the boys' quick reflexes were no match for the scared-out-of-their-wits' frogs.

Cooper moved closer to the edge.  I suggested he refrain from entering the mud.  Before I had a chance to utter the word mud, I heard the slosh of a foot being sucked into the gooey sludge.

Did I really think Cooper would adhere to my warning against the mud?  Asking Cooper to skirt the mud was like suggesting he abstain from breathing. 

In fact, Cooper was practically doing snow angels in the mud when Will uttered, "There is so much grass out here."

Welcome to the country Will.

Eyeing my happy (muddy) son and my immortal Great Uncle, I thought about how I too was grateful.

I was grateful for a day with the best simple pleasure of all: family.

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