As a child I grew up with both sides of my families gathering often. My grandparents lived within twenty miles of one another, but the key was the two grandfathers were also friends. My paternal grandfather, Pappy, was widowed before I was born, and I suppose that had a good bit to do with the ability to work with the Geddie family for holidays.
The Fourth of July was often held at my Aunt Jean Stott’s. Widowed in her forties, Aunt Jean was the only sister of three men. That alone gives you pluck in our family. The Nunnally men are not known for being soft or men of gentle conversations. She lived what I believed to be a life to be immulated. A career woman, she worked in a stylish dress shop by the time I came to be. She owned a lovely home in one of the best neighborhoods, managed her estate and timber, and more than that her home was something I thought belonged in House Beautiful. She had a patio that included seating for multiple tables and a barbque space and tall pines that welcomed you in. Aunt Jean taught me so many things growing up, she was my substitute Grandmother Nunnally, and I spent many days with her learning to do daily gifts such as linen on the tables as well as how to worm a hook for the best fishing. She was a renaissance woman, independent, smart, and lived one of the best lives I’ve experienced. Friends, family, and her own paths were important to her.
The Fourth meant the Nunnallys came to town too. Some years we met at the lake my Grandfather Geddie built, but most were in Aunt Jean’s yard. Brisket, burgers, fried chicken, salads of several varieties, jello molds, seven bean salads. The cooking silent competition was on, no cook to be outdone, so we had the best of everyone’s kitchen. The cousins were all within a fifteen year spand of age group so we were outside and games of medevial wars and hide and seek were happening. Often forgetting to “find” the more irritating of the younger cousins for a bit. I probably was in the group intentionally unfound as the youngest granddaughter.
Fireworks were more saved for the ride home, for we ended the day before sunset. The children and teens might have had rockets and sparklers some years, but being in a pine forest yard, the goal was not to set it ablaze.
This Fourth I was the mother of the house, my own children grown and we gathered at #thetackybrownhouse. Barbarque, slaws, baked beans and angelfood cake. Ice cream brought us back to the table before going outside for time with sparklers. Our college boy came home and we wished for our Oklahoma two but alas they had to work.
There is little more joyful for me than gathering family in my home. The stories we hear of their lives, the window’s view of sharing our lives and stories. It was a good weekend and we were all able to do church together Sunday. Another blessing to have us all together to worship.
This holiday, as they all seemingly do, reminds me of the richness of gathering round the dinner table, family, friends, or strangers, and sharing our lives. What did you do this holiday?