Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend abundance

So Saturday afternoon, we journeyed at the invitation of our friends Matt and Virginia Alexander, and their daughter Madeleine, to a potluck at a farm (really a gigantic vegetable garden) where they are CSA members.

Matt and Virginia were a teensy bit late, so when we arrived, bearing roasted sweet potatoes, we knew no one at first. And if there's one thing I dislike, it's arriving at a gathering of people who all seem to know each other. Reminds me of the first day of high school. But the food was all so delish, and the farmer family so friendly, and a woman recognized us from a Music Together class I did with the girls last year, and pretty soon the awkwardness faded.

Ian started complaining immediately about how the gorgeous weather with which we'd been blessed was TOO HOT, and how the graceful oaks providing us with arboreal shade for our feast were TOO INVITING TO MOSQUITOES. In fact, for the entire first half of our visit, he was quite the incorrigible sourpuss person-suffering-from-an-apparent-onslaught-of-airborne-allergens, poor boy. Because, of course, I needed my patience to be tested severely at an occasion like this.

Once he found a friend, though, all was well. Band members in overalls played the banjo and the fiddle, boys did battle with sticks (is there ever an activity so instantly bonding among young males?), and then the real fun began -- barrel rolling, sack races, and a three-legged race. The three eldest members of the Diller family participated at full throttle, while the younger two spectated with aplomb. Hurray that they're not old enough to be embarrassed by their mother leaping around in a old burlap sack.

Today after church, we headed out to Elgin for a family lunch with our relatives, something we've not done in a few weeks due to various travel schedules. Again, perfect weather -- just right for the kids to climb on the dirt pile after a luncheon al fresco.

We ended up with six of us parents and kids playing Apples to Apples Junior on the patio for about two hours. If you're ever looking for a social game that's rollicking for both kids and adults, I highly, highly, highly recommend this one.

I may look for the adult version to play with my siblings and their spouses at Thanksgiving (which means that according to tradition, I will ask the group assembled, "Want to play a game?" at which point they will either say "OK" and not move a muscle, or stare blankly into outer space until my youngest sister takes pity on me and says, "I'll play with you." She rocks, that sweet girl. Since we are lunatics enough to DRIVE there this year, I fully intend to play the sympathy card, though: "I finally got my kids all to bed, and I DROVE TWO THOUSAND MILES TO GET HERE, SO GOSHDARNIT, WHO'S UP FOR A GAME?" Because I'm nice and unselfish that way.)

It's a funny thing about family gatherings, I couldn't help musing during the hilarity this afternoon. Sometimes, the ones with such high expectations for bonding and magical moments, like holidays, end up feeling vaguely anticlimactic. While the best moments sort of sneak up on you from behind, on a day when nothing too special was promised to happen.


Louisa said...

(apples to apples is a GREAT idea...)

Becca said...

What an idyllic looking afternoon. Good for you for plunging into one of those slightly awkward situations. They usually do turn out great--it's just that initial beginning that's the hardest.

nicole r said...

i love your rendition of getting your siblings to play a game. maybe there's something in the water they give to oldest sisters, cos i am the SAME WAY with my family! (having no younger sister to take pity on me, though, i generally resort to the all-caps "i came all this way" card more often) :)

Vanessa said...

Food looked delicious and family time sounded like fun. Sounds like a good weekend :)

Julie said... your post! I also feel the same way about not knowing anyone! You play that sympathy card!! I would!!:)

Beck said...

I think that board game thing MUST be an oldest sister trait, because I am EXACTLY the same way. And I'm planning on getting the grown-up version of Apples to Apples, too!

Tracee said...

that's not me in the light saber's another friend of the kids. though i often do don my cloak and have duels!