The thing I like best about our extended visits to Alabama is being there for all the celebrations and events that happen on a close-to-weekly basis in a large family. It's how I remember growing up...with an uncle's birthday, a cousin's dance recital, a nice Sunday dinner, or an impromptu afternoon of play happening all the time. It is so cozy and so lovely living that way, deeply connected in daily life with so many different family members.
For the time being, we make do with a good dose of that connectedness a couple times a year. Being there when people drop by for an afternoon chat and stay for a glass of iced tea. Being there when paint colors are considered at a new house over sips of beer. Being there when flash-flood puddles appear on grandmother's street and all the cousins go for a stompy swim. As well as being there for the big stuff, like Father's Day, my darling nephew's Baptism, my own Mama's birthday, and the Fourth of July.
Handsome little fella, isn't he? I'm so honored to be his godmother.
Summertime visits are especially nice, because all the celebrations--big and small--tend to involve water.
Most summer weekends, our celebrations move to the lake.
Where there is a lot of fishing done without any fish caught, a lake dog to play fetch with, semi-wild goats to feed, babies to fawn over, rock jumping for the more adventurous, and some glorious sunsets to behold. It's a good immersion in nature for our city slickers.
The Mister flew down for the Fourth, which was a good thing, since it had rolled around to being his turn to do the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence.
When Mama first had us read the Declaration years ago, I'm embarrassed to say most of us indulged in a few groans and snickers. But she persisted, year after year. Now, the Fourth wouldn't feel complete without this reading. And that's as it should be.
Studying up for her turn next year.
A little fireworks fun capped off the day.
Ack. That's my child holding that firework. And that dog is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
It rained something mighty the rest of the weekend. We spent the wet, wet days reading on the porch, hitting up the local pizzeria and arcade, and cruising WalMart for entertainment.
When the clouds finally parted the morning before we left, it was cause for celebration, in the form of a quick fish and a long ski.
Celebrations, big and small, and life lived close to family for three solid weeks.
That'll hold us 'til next time.