Connecting, Re-connecting And Not
What is it now, August? September in a couple weeks??? When my grandson announced to me--as he has been telling me for several months now--that Halloween is over, I had tell him that it’s coming again. That really floored him. Guess he thought it was one and done. I don’t think he’s mastered the concept of annual holidays yet at his tender age of three and a half.
This summer my wife and I have been busy with first-time events. We had a first annual family re-union with my side of the family, an engagement party for my youngest son to be married next year, and a big wedding of a second cousin.
There's nothing like these kind of events to remind you of the passing of time. At the wedding, I saw cousins I hardly recognized, older relatives previously hale and hearty who looked frail and hobbled, and heard stories of younger relatives going into fields like engineering when the last I recall their previous engineering experience, it was dropping clothespins into a bottle or some such holiday kids' game. I got hugs from cousins I'd never hugged before. There were promises to get together soon but sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't.
Our family re-union a week or so later included my folks, their kids, their grandkids and their great-grandkids. My parents now have five great-grandchildren. My 84-year-old dad remembered how much fun we had playing volleyball at similar family gatherings and he felt he had another volleyball game left in him. So we played. My dad played pretty much the same way I remember him playing in the past; I sure hope I inherited some of his genes. After the game he claimed he made a great save that kept the ball alive on the winning point. I didn't see that myself.
Then last week Wendy and I ventured down to St. Louis to meet my son's future in-laws. Neither my wife nor I are that outgoing socially. And the only ones we knew there would be my son and his fiance. But I felt we did okay. I tried to be a good listener at the engagement party thrown by my fiance's dad. And my wife knows that listening and paying attention is not my strongest attribute.
The party was in a wine cellar, yet it was still a little warm and sticky inside, particularly with the people mingling. Eventually we went outside, being Michiganders we're used to a more cooler climate. What I really wanted to do was to go into the refrigerated area where the dozens of wine bottles were kept at 50 degrees. But hanging out there probably wouldn't have been cool . . . in the social graces department; it most certainly would have been cool in temperature.
Finally, with all the connecting and re-connecting, there was one miss. I wanted to visit with my old college classmate who lives in Kansas, where we had already planned a stop to visit my wife's sister's family on our way to St. Louis. I've traded Christmas cards and letters with my classmate's family for nearly 40 years since we graduated together from Central Michigan University. But we'd never done a catch-up face-to-face in all that time.
So I sent her husband a message on Facebook, taking him up on a three-year-old invitation to stop by if we were ever in the area. I soon received a response saying that they would be available and could treat us to lunch or dinner. Wonderful, I wrote back. Just give us a particular time and we'd be there.
But then . . . nothing. No response at all. I send a subsequent follow-up e-mail but still nothing. You have to wonder--did they change their mind? Did something urgent come up? Did my or his messages get lost somehow? I don't understand Facebook all that much and trust it even less.
I guess with the age that I'm at I like to take opportunities to catch up with relatives and old friends. You can't always count on a chance encounter or being invited to another big wedding. It's not as dependable as Halloween coming every year.