Princes , poets , painters & princesses alike descended upon Aunt Kathy’s cottage with the intensity of a swarm of … nothing less than : the relatives which they were. Cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents alike.
A smorgasbord of shapes and sexes, likes and dislikes, personalities and personalities squared. For Papa Tom’s children were a lot of things : meek and mild wallflowers not being amongst them.
Not .. mind you .. in the slightest uncouth sort of way. For one : that would have never been tolerated. For two : it simply wasn’t in any of the ‘kid’s’ make up. Really, pretty much as simple as that. More so in a happy-go-lucky, animated – not one of his kids could utter a word without augmenting same with some type of hand gesture or another – ‘come, join the party’ – kind of way.
And .. party they could. And did. In the infectious, audacious ‘devil be damned’ teasing and loving sort of way reserved exclusively for siblings who shared a love for each other deeper than any perceived slight or joke that went just that one little step too far.
Oh .. there were moments when this theory was tested. Count on that. But .. aside from some raised voices double .. possibly treble their usual intensity and volume .. everyone always kissed and made up soon enough afterwards.
I can remember thinking .. as the ‘kid’ I was at the time .. just how special was the bond these 5 siblings shared. As I simultaneously tried to picture MFS, Sue – ‘ie My Favorite Sister’ albeit ‘only’ sister ..but.. regardless.. } and I one day taking our rightful positions at ‘the head of the table.’
But .. alas .. there would be plenty of time for such introspection at a latter date. For .. there were Italian sausages to be grilled .. big, fat rolls to be warming up on the side .. salads of mini-marshmallows with bits of cut up oranges to marvel over .. and Canadian beers to be sneaked out of the fridge in the garage by us kids ..
And .. after dinner : FIREWORKS ! And . from Grandparent to Parent to Kid to aspiring squire waiting patiently for his or her chance to spin a sparkler after all the Ooowing & Aweing of the main event.
Ahh … yes .. this is what I grew up with. What a most fortunate lad I have been.