We Are Family
The Fourth of July party at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Barbara's down in Portland turned out to be a rather sizeable (even by Comte & McMenamin standards) mini family reunion, unbeknownst to me (although everyone else seemed to have been clued-in). In addition to my aunt & uncle, those in attendance included my Dad's other sisters, PJ and Carolyn, Grandma Justine, my cousins Kim, Christie & Kelly, my niece Jessica, and a whole passel of second cousins, grand nieces & nephews, friends, neighbors & significant others -- about 50 all total. At one point there were five generations of The Comte/McMenamin/McMann Clan in the same room. Pretty remarkable.
As kids, "the cuzzes" were all pretty close, since for most of our early years we all lived within a few tens of miles of each other. Being a big ole' Irish Catholic Family, we of course spent many holidays at my grandparent's house in NE Portland, plus the seemingly incessant annual birthdays, summer picnics, etc., etc. Unfortunately, over the course of our adult lives, we've all pretty much scattered to the winds, so we've only been able to see each other very infrequently. I think the last time all four of us were together was about eight years ago at my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary party, and that was such a huge event that we didn't really spend all that much time WITH each other. Still, it always feels like one of those situations where, regardless of how long it's been, we seem to be able to just pick up the thread, and the familial bonding kicks in almost as if those intervening years didn't actually occur. This is what it's like to have a real family, something most people probably take for granted (as I know I do to a large extent with the other side of my family, whom for whatever reason, I've never felt as strongly connected to as I do my father's side -- probably due primarily to those early bonding experiences).
Some highlights of the day include:
My complete surprise at seeing the cuzzes when I walked in (they knew I was coming, but I didn't know they'd be there).
Watching Grandma Justine hold court just like the old days.
Being able to see four mountains (Hood, St. Helens, Adams & Rainier) in one view.
Placing bets on how long the afternoon slumbering child would manage to stay conked out, sprawled across the comfy chair (four hours plus as it turns out).
Remembering all the crazy stuff we used to do as kids.
The GIANT Leggo pile.
The Chocolate Cake Incident.
The 40 foot ketch with the 30 foot long American Flag.
The unexpected arrival of the fire trucks.
BUTTERED CINNAMON TOAST!
The grand fireworks display that happened right in front of us, on a decidedly non-rickety deck. (Added Bonus: being able to see the fireworks displays of about a half dozen small cities to the north).
Playing cards with the cuzzes until 2:00 a.m.
Being awakened at 6:00 a.m. by the afore-mentioned slumbering child, passing her Acting 101 class by coming up with 23 distinctly different inflections on the word "daddy".
Actually arriving on-time to my 10:30 a.m. tech rehearsal in Seattle.
Needless to say, a good time was had by all. Just wish we could do it more often.
on 11:06 AM