Tuesday May 31st 2011, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

I did not know when I booked my trip that my aunt and uncle who live in Virginia were going to be flying in to Salt Lake City, where my folks now live, that very weekend–and that they would be joined by three of their children and their families for a celebration of their own. I hadn’t seen most of them since our big reunion for what would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday in ’98.

I did know that there were cousins coming from my dad’s side that I hadn’t seen since my youngest was a preschooler. And that another uncle was turning 90; one of his daughters flew in from Florida for that get-together.

I did not know I was going to get to see a relative on my husband’s side who’s been fighting cancer; I hoped so, but I didn’t know. She was a good distance away; timing of treatments was an issue; I was not going to have a car.

But my son John and I did get to after all.

I got to see Abby, too–and to see her walking! With crutches, but her dad told me she’d walked a little without, too. And then told me, with her in the room, that she just *loves* it when he talks about her in front of her, totally calling himself on it like a good dad would: he saw her point of view and let her know he knew it and cared about her feelings while trying to fill me in so she wouldn’t have to explain everything to me.

I had introduced myself to her as the one who knit the purple hat.


It was reunion after reunion, joy after joy, love held close, coming in a five-day-long stream rather than an exhausting all-and-then-nothing day. And I got to see my brothers, my sisters, my parents, and of course my youngest son, my nieces… The list goes on.

And to watch the news, rather a novelty now for this non-TV-owner. Remember my staring up at the new white stuff when, come on, guys, this was Memorial Day weekend? A skier on the screen was exulting that this was the best snow all season and the resort operator was saying they planned to keep the slopes open weekends till the Fourth of July.

That ski resort was where we held that big reunion, the slopes properly cool but summery, in August that year.

And–be still my heart. There was a sign telling people to watch out for falcons! I’m just sorry I didn’t get a picture of the sign, much less the birds themselves.

My brother Bryan made a side trip to Arches National Park as part of his vacation and showed us the photos he took; one was of an antelope. An antelope!?

He smiled the happiest smile, affirming, “An antelope.”


I got to see a striking black-and-white magpie, long tail flicking, landing on top of the low stone wall alongside the cemetery where our grandparents are buried. And a dead fox near the airport.

Bryan wins.

Now, if only he’d followed it around looking for any shed winter undercoat for my spinning wheel… G’wan, go back, bro, you know you want to…

Michelle picked me up at the airport this afternoon. It was so good to see her again. There’s nothing like family. We drove home, the post-seasonal rain gradually letting go; we walked in the door, I looked out the window, wondering–

–nothing around. So still. So unusual. (So much food available around here this time of year whether we provide any or not, so while I was gone, the others did not.)

I walked into the family room.

Immediately two towhees hopped in perfect tandem onto the wooden box.

Okay, I got the message. I’ll unpack in a moment. I went out and filled the feeders and one of the little Bewick’s wrens didn’t even wait for me to go back inside before it swooped around, singing loud and close enough by that I actually heard a few notes: Hey everybody! Feederfiller’s back!

It was like a Disney movie in slow motion. A few at first, then more and more, crescendoing till about two hours later, the whole crew was back. And more: a female scarlet tanager flew in, a bird I’ve only seen once and that was a year ago. I went Oh wow! out loud and scared it right off.

They hadn’t gone totally unfed; I’d succeeded in hanging a suet cake long side up where the squirrels couldn’t get it but so that the wrens could stand on it the way they liked to, without having to hang off the sides.  I saw the titmice working at it in twos, too, then chickadees: clearly, that idea had worked well.  And it wasn’t quite empty. Yet.

I put more in there, too.

It was the same old birds, for the most part, but in my absence some of their patterns had changed. It was fascinating to watch, not that I had much time to spend doing so.

A pattern of mine had changed, too, one of avoiding the project that would not be frogged: I hauled out a kid mohair UFO before the trip, abandoned ten years now, a shawl. At 16×50″ it is now nearly done and my seatmate and the stewardess raved over the soft cloud of lace.

I wonder who it finally needed to be done for.  I do know that memories of that trip and of all that love are knitted into nearly all its stitches.

12 Comments so far
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I’m so glad you had a wonderful time.

Comment by pat Flores 06.01.11 @ 2:50 am

I’m glad you had such a great trip and got to see so many relatives. Your little friends are glad it wasn’t a longer trip.

Did you know that the word bosom does not mean a body part, but rather a unit of measure. A fathom is the distance from fingertip to fingertip of your outstretched arms, while a bosom is the amount of something you can enclose with those same two fingers touching. I suppose it was a way to measure sheaves of wheat or a bundle of firewood. But now it seems like the appropriate way to measure a family reunion–how many hugs it took to include everyone.

Comment by LauraN 06.01.11 @ 4:50 am

(maybe that shawl needs to go a certain relative you were so tickled to see and are worried about?)

Comment by Afton 06.01.11 @ 5:02 am

Aren’t reunions just the most fun? You will find just the right person for the shawl.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 06.01.11 @ 6:25 am

Heh. As the suet turns is back on the air!

Comment by Channon 06.01.11 @ 6:26 am

My, the things you didn’t know! At least you’re not a know-it-all. Hugs all around! A ski resort open on the Fourth of July? And local birds happy that you are back. Quite a wonderful time!`

Comment by Don Meyer 06.01.11 @ 8:55 am

so glad to hear you had a wonderful trip (BTW, antelope are one of my favorite sites when we drive from our house to California)

can’t wait to hear all about the new adventures in the “wild kingdom” of your back yard!

Comment by bev 06.01.11 @ 9:05 am

: ) ‘Nuff said.

Comment by LynnM 06.01.11 @ 12:06 pm

Glad you are safely home after such a wonderful time! I love LauraN’s tidbit about the meaning of bosom, too!

Comment by Diana Troldahl 06.01.11 @ 12:39 pm

On behalf of the birds, welcome home, Feederfiller!

Comment by Patricia Day 06.01.11 @ 2:41 pm

Your joy brings a small tear of recognition to my eye. I am so glad it was wonderful, and that it is also wonderful to return home.

Comment by twinsetellen 06.01.11 @ 4:59 pm

Now, see? This is what I have missed because of a nearly 50 hour workweek and those two children of mine.


Comment by Momo Fali 06.06.11 @ 7:05 pm

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