When it comes to family, the Weber's have it pretty much down to an art form. I can say this without a terrible arrogance since I was not born into them, but am there by choice. So let's just say I feel pride and a whole lot of love to be counted among them. Family fills my mind and heart today because I just returned from a reunion.

We've been getting together every other year since 1985. I missed that one—not yet having become part of the family, but I owe my life to it since, as a result of their mid-life get-together and a discussion about "old girlfriends," John decided to find me again.

It's a big family, scattered across the continent, so depending upon who has volunteered to be host, we've found ourselves trapping Dungeness Crabs off Camano Island in Washington State, fishing for tuna off the Pacific coast in California, eating deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving in Louisiana, picnicking in a park in Denver, gathering around the pool in Minnesota, playing in southern Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains—the Rogue and Applegate valleys, swapping stories and meeting more distant relatives in Wisconsin.

This year we went to the Gulf Coast of Florida, to Grayton Beach where the sand is fine and white as powdered sugar, with no oil globs that any of us could see.

 Jim and Laura rented a large beach house with a mammoth screened in porch overlooking the sand dunes and the high surf. On Sunday a tropical depression came down from Georgia to stall right over us. I now understand the inglorious metaphor "buckets of rain."

There it is again. Rain. Rain seems to be a prime image of this journal. As I see it right now, it became an enclosure for this year's Weber Reunion—a veil of care that surrounded all of us. No family is without its suffering; maybe every family is a microcosm of the world.

Job's have been lost. Businesses have closed. David has cancer. Tede's once keen mind is losing its bearings. Brothers and sisters in "my" generation have passed from this world, and though their names remain in our hearts and our stories, their chairs are empty. But all around the emptiness rain falls. Through rain the children run, and we laugh to see them, our hearts filling with something that defies loss. And though one by one the elder Weber's stand where the surf pounds, thinking of those whose "absence is our perpetual company," young shouts and giggles interrupt our reverie, and we turn to lift our children in our arms.


Helen said…
So beautifully written. You named for us our loss of Tim (son-in-law) two years ago "absence is our perpetual company". Tim's daughter, Ruby, laughs and sings, we turn and lift her up.
Thank you Christin. I got shivers when I read these words.
I ought to have given credit for that quote to Paul Claudel. It's from his play, SATIN SLIPPER. The direct quote is "There is someone, dearest sister, whose absence is your perpetual company." I'm glad, Helen, that it took residence in your heart as it has also in mine.
Stratoz said…
amazing post, clearly a stack of emotions flowing here. love how a discussion of past loves led to your happiness

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