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By Linda Nidiffer
Some families like to plan their reunions years in advance. I think that is really smart, especially if you like all of your family members. My family has never been that savvy we just wait around for the next wedding or funeral to show up. Then we spend a few hours with each other, breathe a sigh of relief, and then go home. For me, it is not that I don’t like them per se, but when they are all together, they are a bit much!
I am not at my best in large groups of people. Truth to tell I am not that fond of people, I prefer books and cats. With books and cats there is no hidden agenda and they never lie! A cat is always doing what is natural to a cat: hiding when there are strangers in her territory or getting into every bodies business because she’s too curious to stay away. Books’ words are always the same but as we reread them we, the reader, are never the same. People are exhausting, books and cats are restful or amusing.
Both sides of the family showed up and friends came too to celebrate Tom’s life this past weekend. I am not sure how I feel about “celebrating” a life, but my daughter needed some closure and a party was better than a macabre funeral. We enjoyed a casual meal and told stories about Tom that made us laugh or cry. Then just the families went to my daughter’s home to have drinks and tell more intimate stories and try to figure out a family mystery.
Everyone knew that I was putting Tom in the cookie jar but some didn’t know the whole story about the crazy aunt giving it to us as a wedding gift. Tom’s brother had to make sure that it wasn’t one of my aunts who held that honor. I told him that it was definitely a Nidiffer gift. The remaining two siblings who were sitting by the fire pit started remembering all of their aunts and uncles. After much discussion they decided that most of their aunts were crazy but the most likely suspect was Aunt Mary. I only met Aunt Mary at my wedding so I really didn’t know her, but the sibs were positive that she was the likely candidate.
There was a lot of laughing and fond memories spouted around the fire pit. What is it about sitting around a fire that makes our memories come flooding back? All I know is that it was cathartic for everyone. I left the gathering early and the “young” bunch were still at it until at least midnight was the report I received today. I wonder what memories Tom could have shared around the fire or if he would share any at all. Would he have waited until we got home to tell me his side of the story? Share your stories. Don’t make us wonder. Don’t make us wait.