The Pierce clan Christmas gathering for 2008 took place at what has become known as "Pierce Central", Mark's home in Mansfield. Todd's family has become known as "Pierce South" nearby Cincinnatti. Kimberly and I who live in the Akron-Canton area are known as the "Up North Pierce's".
Kimberly's children are still young. Mark and Mary Kay are empty nesters with their youngest girls in college while their other children and grandchildren live nearby in the Mansfield area. Todd and Amy are also empty nesters. Their two oldest have graduated from college and live at a distance and Christy Anne is finishing up her last year at Baldwin-Wallace. (Jillian & Christy at left). David chose to remain in Boston for Christmas and, instead, come home on March 7th for his sister's wedding. Except for David, The Gangs All Here!
As in that great polka song of by gone days, was it time to "Roll out the barrel"? Maybe! A decision had been made to do neither a gift exchange nor a large dinner this year. As our only common date was on a Tuesday evening, the following day being a work day for Julie and others, a simple wine and cheese tasting with desserts was decided upon.
The party was well along when Julie and I arrived. We quickly gathered a work party of the willing to carry in four, large tote boxes of what we insisted were not "gifts". We were to only bring snacks and our favorite wine. Among other things, Julie took a large taco salad dip and I took a bottle of dandilion wine which I had bottled in 1997.
The dip was good, the wine was bad. Bless Aaron who drank a whole glass of the stuff! He will be a great addition to the family with an attitude like that as he practices here for his wedding day. HA.
As I reflect back on this party, it was more like the frenzied eating by people who had been starved for some time. I do not recall the last time the entire family has been together. We each tried to spend a wee bit of one-on-one time with each other in the short time we had. (Julie and I were only there for three hours). There were 24 of us so you can do the math. The family loves to play games, make music, sing and dance, tell stories of day's gone by and dream of days to come. That was not to be.
There were presents for the six young children and for "Baby Pierce", a new son which Jon and Bethany will present to the family in February. The tote boxes contained what I called "Doggie Bags", fancy containers of cookies for everyone and food gift baskets for each of the many grandchildren. There was a goodly supply of homemade Apple Butter and Strawberry Jam for everyone. Julie and I had already received gifts from Mark and Kimberly and Todd and Amy broke their own rule and presented us with a thoughtful gift.
The degree of sadness at our departure might be likened unto the above mentioned starving people having their meal end with the Hors' d'oeuvres. Our visit was wonderful but our hunger was unabated. Truly, parting is such sad sorrow!
Plans were made to have a dinner with Kimberly's family in the coming week and for Julie and I to get together with Mark and Mary in the near future. I hope to get down to visit Todd some time in February. The Whole Gang? Well, it looks like March 7th at Bethany and Arron's wedding. Unfortunately, we won't get our visit out then, either. It will be fun but it will all be over in the blink of an eye.
Comedian George Burns is quoted as saying: "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city". Oh, well, everybody can't be like the Pierces.
The song says it so well:
"Oh, there's never any room there, for a worry or a gloom there".
"Oh, there's music and there's dancing, and a lot of sweet romancing".
"ROLL OUT THE BARREL, WE'LL HAVE A BARREL OF FUN"!
We'll try again next summer down at the families lakeside retreat.