I am a teabag steeping in a little iron kettle, warmed by hot water with steam curling out of the spout. That is how I felt when I arrived safely home from the family Christmas party hosted again by Liz and Rich out in their Wooster home. I did not feel like talking to anyone. I was savoring all the voices and laughter of my cousins and remembering the tastes of the meal we shared.
I was so grateful the weather allowed me to drive the hour and a half trip that I’ve now made often enough that I actually remember the way and can get there without any unintended detours. Mist rising from the cold ground as the warmer air settled in was so beautiful that I wished I could get the camera and capture the vistas but I had to drive on, only gleaning a peripheral view.
As usual there was a swapping of stories and news and Laura asked me if my sister actually did the calligraphy on the Christmas card she sent, oh yes, I said, she’s been studying calligraphy for some years now. Laura knew the hymn that the text was taken from. Mine is sitting on the top of my computer monitor and I have no intention of taking it down after Christmas.
My cousin Jerry was across the table deep in his own thoughts while I considered how much his dark eyes were also the eyes of our Uncle Bob and our grandfather, Joseph M. Horvath.
Most of the younger children and many of their parents did not attend this year – so many extracurricular activities and sports they are involved in kept them away, one had been in an accident but is recovering.
With morning coffee we enjoyed some of the wonderful rye bread that Rich baked.
The morning walk to St. Mary’s a few blocks away seemed to take longer this year as I had to stop and let the ache in my hips stop nagging me. I saluted the large ginko tree in front of a Methodist church at the end of College Street at Bowman. First I saw the leaves on the ground and looking up I saw its lovely cone shaped frame rising tall in front of an oak tree.
Liz mentioned how thoroughly drained she felt after the family parties two weekends in a row (his then hers) and that they would not continue this labor of love after she retires. I suggested she not wait until she keels over, we could meet at a restaurant. It would not be the same, of course, but better than not being together at all.
Back at home all the after images crowded my thoughts but I had to burrow down under my heap of blankets and let sleep carry me into comfort and warmth, I could do nothing further without this respite.