Sunday, August 05, 2007

Smiling Under Ohio’s Lights

I spent this past weekend with Shannon, Sonya, Dustan, Dorvan, Sheri, Sheila, Donavan and Sophia – my brothers and sisters – as well as my assorted in-laws, niece and nephews, wife, and mother and father. It was nice to all be home – filling out the old brick and peeling-siding house at 16455 Dover Rd.

Jennifer said she felt like being pregnant after watching Shannon and Sonya pad about hands on hips, their toddlers filling their pants, enjoying the open spaces Ohio has to offer outdoors – trying for the creek whenever their mother’s backs were turned. I played basketball with Dustan and Dorvan who are decidedly more athletic, taller, but less “muscular.” If I planted myself in the lane, refused to call the fouls I committed and traveled just enough to get around people but not to be noticed, it seemed as though I was holding my own. Although even when I got an open shot, I couldn’t make it, even with our ultra-forgiving rim.

My mom’s gardens looked like the gardens of Eden according to Jennifer – all green and flowering. We brought some of her tomatoes home with us (along with enough strawberries and corn to fill our freezer) and they are good. Like the food my mom fed us – rich and fresh, home-made, inspiring, tempting restraint.

My Dad was happy to tell us about his recent adventures in Central Europe, collecting artifacts from heavily-bearded, religious men, touring medieval cities.

The ususal tales were told of my slovenly past – my lack of assistance in changing Dustan’s diapers and yet claiming $2-per-hour babysitting wages. I enjoy these depreciating remarks; like my Shannon’s appraisal of my newly established quasi-comb-over. I may not see my family much, but when we do see each other it quickly becomes apparent that we are family. No honesty or emotive ability is spared as the characteristics of the lives we live are parsed and harangued. We love each other and it shows in the amount of time in which we linger about the dinner table – making each other squirm from the scrutiny, laugh at our failings, and dream about a world in which our politics match and our world views coincide. We are a family when we come home to the big house and the time “out-there” where we live stops as much as the Freightliners keep rolling by on Route 250 and Uri (P.) Gingerich’s corn grows up again in the same what that Mahlin, Uri’s father, is always made to say in heavily accented English: “Darren, You lay-zee boy . . . ”


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