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Dear Oprah,

What did you do Saturday night?  I saw some pic of you fixing your toilet—handy dandy!  You even had a fancy suede looking hat on—lord you should see me doing those kinds of fixes around my house—not nearly so sharp looking.

Anyway, this past weekend was both my parents’ birthday.  Weird, I know—that would be a cool conversation on a first date:  “So when is your birthday?”  “January 12th.”  “What?  Mine too!”  “It’s kismet!  Wanna get married?”  “I have four children from a previous marriage and am 4 years older than you.”  (Gulp) “Still kismet?”  Apparently so…

Dad turned 76 and mom turned 80 on Sunday, so the five of us siblings made plans to surprise mom with a party.  It was at Auntie Good Time’s house, so my brothers’ and their wives had to make arrangements to get here from west Florida, Georgia and Minnesota, and my sister had to do the flight of the bumblebee to get her home ready and all of the major prep done.  It was my doings that was the hit of the party, though.  I made Cosmopolitan punch—two batches and we still ran out in about an hour.

Cosmopolitan Punch

Cosmopolitan Punch

http://drink.betterrecipes.com/cosmopolitan-punch-1.html

Actually, it was the look on our mother’s face, after her friends from the past 25 years in Florida had arrived and their cars were parked throughout the neighborhood to keep up the charade. Mom and Dad arrived to meet Kathy, Dan, and Auntie Donut for dinner.  We had our brother Kyle, from Minnesota, answer the door while we photographed and videoed her reaction.  It was priceless!  She was so shocked it was hard for her to cry, which is no easy feat!  Mother’s intuition had her thinking something might be in the plans, but never anything like this!

With about 40 people, we reconnected, shared stories, ate wonderful food, drank awesome cosmopolitans, and enjoyed a lovely evening.

For me, though, Sunday was the most fun—and even though this is about mom and dad’s birthday, this blog is about me!  We all met at mom’s, ate leftover catered food from the night before, and caught up with each other at a slower pace.  I brought Pierce and Mikey so they got to play with their Aunties and Uncles.  My brother, Kyle and his wife Cheri brought snowballs for the boys to play with.  They look and scrunch like packed snow, but are light polyester, so they didn’t hurt when getting pelted. Grammy’s stairway was a great place for the Uncles to play target practice with my children.  I think even the big boys got a charge out of throwing toys in the house, since it was NEVER allowed when we were kids.  I remember Greg was bouncing a tennis ball of a wall in my mom’s house (our home now) when we were dating, and got admonished by his future mother-in-law.

Several of us decided to go to Flea World for lord only knows what?  It’s basically Walmart in tents—not the kind of flea market that’s a treasure trove of happened upon junk.  We wandered around the underbelly of American culture for what seemed like forever.  There were Hello Titty t-shirts, crotch-less, fishnet cat suits, nylon area rugs with giant tigers and a plethora of other delightful finds.  Mixed in with this lovely merchandise was the occasional produce stand, plant stall, used furniture shop, and a true flea market vendor with cool vintage curiosities.    It wasn’t a total loss because we got to practice our sarcasm a lot!  And I actually saw a couple of places that I need to stop by again at some point.  It’s a place worth checking out, just don’t go in July when you are short on deodorant and patience.

Classy Area Rug

Classy Area Rug

Hello Titty

Hello Titty

When we got back to mom’s and the uncles resumed their games with Mikey and Pierce, Uncle Kevin impressed Mikey with his ability to lift a house and my car.  He was so convincing, that I think we are going to call Uncle Kevin “Uncle Good Times.”

I love the times when our whole family can be together.  They are few and far between, but we love each other, and the catch-up agenda always requires a lot of laughs and silliness.  I am so grateful to have my parents happy and healthy, as well as all of my siblings and their spouses…such an expression of grace to be a part of a family that genuinely enjoys each other’s company.

I would post a picture of our Brady Bunch family, but Auntie Good Times would kill me, and I would kill myself!

Sentimental Tidings,

J

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