Weddings or Funerals

Missing the party

I snuck out of bed, the clock said 2:00 but it didn’t matter. It was still early yet back home, where the party was.

In my family, we hear the words “I’m busy” a lot. Too much, in fact. Those words usually keep the long phone calls and surprise visits non-existent, choke the laughter and story telling that would have risen from long overdue conversations around a kitchen table, coffee cups constantly kept from being refilled from the old perk on the stove top.

Life gets in the way.

Until, that is, there is a wedding or a funeral.

The screen was dark and blurry. I could see smiling faces from the glow of the LED. Small snippets from a much bigger collage of merriment. I didn’t need to see any of it to picture how the party was going, bright and clear in my mind.

I could picture the old farm along the gravel drive; the silver of the grain bins lined against the treeline, the line of campers with outstretched awnings and the circlet of lawn chairs around a fire, coolers full of beer and rye, a couple aunties bringing out their wine, children zigzagging through the throngs of people and equipment, moving from one childhood game to another. I can imagine the front lawn in front of the family farmhouse, brown stained deck outstretched from the front door. The grass neatly trimmed for the party, filled to the brim with people and gear, my sister moving from tents to campers to tents again talking with anyone she recognized, hearing her tell me earnestly that this was the man whose brother’s wife ran the store in Lake Lenore before it closed in the 80s’ or that I went to school with this woman’s nieces daughters in Annaheim. My brothers are scatters among the cousins, old friends and small town characters, drinking around the camp fire as they remember old stories of hockey games and English classes from a childhood that felt like yesterday.

I can see it all. It’s not that hard.

Small towns equals many people you don’t get to see very often. Weddings equal seeing everyone again.

All bets are off then. Come hell or high water, everyone will be there.

They gather from kilometres around to celebrate life and love. Remember old times and younger faces. Long forgotten memories and eager shouts of “remember when”, “remember that time,” and “oh yeah, I totally forgot about that.”

It’s hard to be on the outside looking in. Missing the stories of growing up together and past get-togethers. The belly laughs that make your sides ache and your eyes water. The knowing smiles and long looks of love between the brides and grooms, old and new.

I hope you know how much I long to be there.

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