Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It was a family kind of weekend....

     I'll write on just about anything, and this blog will prove it.  This weekend, it was all about family, and not necessarily mine either.....

     The schedule was daunting to look at, especially for Saturday.  Friday night we had plans to join the Whitman Drama family for that evening's performance of Beauty and the Beast.  We rolled into Saturday am with a commitment with our extended Boy Scout family, and then on to a celebration of life for an adult son of a family we met a few years ago.  That evening we had an invite to a beer tasting with friends that were close enough to be family, and all the while thought of a family in Cdga who were spending the last night that they would have with their daughter who was finally free of the pain of cancer. Did I mention that all my kids were home this weekend too, and that my siblings and I are entering the last week of a 12 week diet challenge?  So, yes, it was all about family this weekend.

     All my kids have performed in plays at Marcus Whitman, so yes the Drama club there is like a little family.  Last weekend they put on "Beauty and the Beast" and I hear that it was fantastic.   I had to hear it, because I
didn't attend, but should have.  Friday night we had tickets and the rest of the family packed up to go, but I'd had a long week, a longer weekend loomed ahead, and my foot was swollen with arthritis, so I sat this one out.   It was a nice mental reset for me to have a few hours of solitude to ponder the things in life that truly matter, but as I sat there, I realized I should have rallied and gone, but I didn't and I let my Drama Club family down.  Family is like that sometimes, they have the best of intentions, but not the best follow through.

     Saturday started out even busier than usual.  As I was entering into the last week of a 12 week diet challenge, I made sure I hit the elliptical for an hour first thing and then started doing some things around the house.  My college son and one of his roommates were home all week, but we really didn't see a lot of them in the mornings, that's the nature of kids in college.  I was grateful for all the time we did get to spend together last week, eating dinners, working out together, and just hanging out
Some scouts from Pack 44
some nights.  His roommate is a real nice guy from Brooklyn and we got to learn a lot about his life there. They just signed on to be roommates again next year, and we couldn't be happier.  Mid-morning I suited up and headed out to pick up our Senior Patrol Leader of our Boy Scout Troop.  The two of us participated in a Crossover ceremony in Penn Yan and welcomed a new Webelos from that Pack into our Troop.  This was a first for us, we normally don't pull from the surrounding packs, but this year there was interest, and this Scout decide to join our Scouting family here in Hall.  The ceremony was well planned and although I wasn't much of a Scout growing up, I've gotten great value from it as a Scoutmaster for the last 8 years.  I got to judge (not eat) some fantastic handmade cakes while I was there but couldn't stay to purchase one in the cake auction.  Kudos to those parents who participate in Scouting, if the kids I saw on Saturday are any indication, your investment is paying off.

     I dropped the SPL off and headed back home to pack up for the next event.  A family that we had met a
John Grabski III of Teeth
half dozen years ago had lost an adult son to cancer the week before and were holding a "Celebration of Life" for him at their sprawling property down near Branchport.  They are great folks and truthfully these events are tough to pull off.  Instead of a normal, somber, stiff wake, it's a potluck gathering to remember the good times that everyone shared with the deceased.  This one abounded with love and affection and my wife and I both agreed that if possible, we'd like to have the same type event when we pass.  It seems more fitting to us.  Their son's story is one of a heroic battle against 5 types of cancer, and at the end he was able to leave the world his debut album called "The Strain" which includes 7 songs which chronicle his battle.  His slogan "Rock versus Cancer: Rock Wins" will stay with me for a long time, as will my memories of John Grabski III.  Kudos to the family for being able to put this last fitting send off together for their son.  While I didn't know him well, I knew him enough to know how much he would have enjoyed the event.  I
I look like a "Where's Waldo" in this picture
got to catch up with some buds that I don't see often enough that day too, and I'll post the picture here.  They are all strapping farmer- type guys, and well, I am not.  I didn't know a single one of these guys before moving out to Hall, so I guess you could say that they are part of my Hall family.  That's a good family to be part of too, and from out first year out here (it's been 20 now), we were treated like family by the whole community.  I hope we've done the same for the newbies to town that came after us. 

My daughter Molly, her boyfriend Jon, and my pretty little wife

We left that event and headed back home to pick up our dish to pass and our college aged daughter and boyfriend for the next event.  We were invited to an intimate St. Paddy's day beer and food tasting at a 
friend's house. As St. Paddy's days go, this was a quiet one for me.  I've done my share of tearing up some large cities and hanging out in bars for countless hours, but this was a perfect way to spend the day, once again surrounded by great families.  Our hosts had half of their children home for the event, and I'd gotten to see their 2 others over the past few weeks while traveling, and I think they set a great example of how children in families should interact.  I hope ours stay as close when they go off to start their careers and families. The food and beer at this party was fantastic and our grilled Reuben paninis on ancient grain tortillas took a solid second in the contest.  After we got home, we all sat around in the living room and chatted and reconnected. I went to bed just a little after my son Nolan and we all made plans for brunch the next am.

     Getting college kids up and out the door by 10 is a challenge, but I have to admit that it was me running late by a few minutes that morning.  Once again I worked out a little too long on the elliptical and a shower afterwards was a necessity. I'll freely admit that we skipped church that am and instead chose to go to brunch in Cdga and then walk the lakeshore together.  My mind was occupied with thoughts of another family in Cdga who were saying goodbye to their daughter that morning.  She lost her 8 year battle with cancer and while it could have defined her life (she was diagnosed prior to her 3rd birthday) she instead was the picture of a happy, loving kid who faced her battle with courage and a smile.  I graduated high school with her aunt and that family has shown me how this kind of adversity can be faced with love and support.  I never had met her personally, but kept up on her progress on Facebook.  I'm glad that she no longer suffers, but I'll admit to hugging my kids a little tighter that afternoon before they got back into their cars and headed back to their lives.  The whole weekend seemed to be a reminder of how fragile life can be and a reminder to not waste your family time as it can be fleeting.  Before we headed out of town, I visited a sister at her house quickly. She's looking great and is giving me a good run for my money on our diet challenge.  It ends next week and I suspect my blog next Tuesday will be titled " I am the Biggest Loser" or "I am (not) the Biggest Loser".  We plan to get the group together at brunch that day too, and after this weekend, I'll probably appreciate the gathering with my family just a little more. 

1 comment:

cdyarger said...

Another tear-jerker!! This was a wonderful, but also bittersweet, eye-opening weekend. I know I am very blessed to have a wonderful family (both immediate and extended),and many great friends. This is a timely reminder to appreciate all of you. Thanks for bringing such joy to my life!!