Thursday, April 1, 2010

Encounters/Pal's 90th Birthday

My father's youngest brother turned 90 on Palm Sunday and we gathered to celebrate. Uncle Pal was born on Palm Sunday and hence named "Palmino." The party was the first time I'd seen many of my relatives since the funeral of another of my father's siblings, and it was truly wonderful to be together at an occasion that wasn't associated with someone's passing.

As expected, the food and wine were abundant, the conversation lively and full of reminiscences, and many of the moments were touching as faces and names from my childhood crossed the room to reconnect. Pal and his wife, Rita, were surrogate parents to my sister, brother and me. Every winter, my parents took a vacation in Florida and Pal, Rita and their two daughters moved into our house to care for us while my parents were away. It was a vacation for us as well--filled with laughter, Rita's delicious cooking and the tumult of five kids around the kitchen table.

My father's youngest sister, my Aunt JoAnn, was also at the party, looking beautiful and brilliant as she recounted to my husband tales from my childhood.

Such encounters fill me up and nourish me as much as the pasta with broccoli and chicken francese on the buffet table.

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