He Is Still Here

Celebrating a birthday with one of the veterans in the family

Sister to my Dad, mother of my cousins and Tia to so many of us

She’s seen ninety summers in what will always seem like much too brief a life

Sitting around a table of people who innately know your wants and needs is so nourishing to the soul

These are our people and it doesn’t matter whether you know them from forever, you knew them then or you met them now

The call of bloodline is a distinct and direct message that rings in the heart and answers instinctively

Along with the variety of dishes enticing our taste buds, we partake of a scrumptious Tempranillo that takes us to the mother country, where whatever remaining Spanish roots we share, they fill us with a common bond

It’s an evening where some of us are absent and yet we are all here

Our departed loved ones also fill the room as we silently wonder what they would be doing at this precise moment

My Aunt, the birthday girl, sits at the end of the table, flocked by her loyal subjects, embracing the royalty that the milestone age bequeaths to her station

I look around the room and wish my Dad was here tonight

‘You missed so much…’ is all I sadly think as nostalgia and this 2014 vintage cloud my thoughts and fill my eyes with the mist of a fog that might produce a tear or two

I talk to my cousin whom I just met tonight and I see family in his look and in his laugh

I embrace my wife, holding her hand, my anchor to this life that sustains and fulfills me

In this room, with these people, we all have our hierarchy and our roles, each of us representing a branch of a family tree that cements our place in this world

But today it is also about her

The lady on the end is ninety and tonight is her night

So we sing birthday wishes and raise glasses in honor of her presence and her tenure

The wine flows

The laughs emerge

Family is as family is when family is what family is

A good time is had by all

While I can’t help but miss my Dad, somewhere in this mix of souls

In this room full of history

He is still here


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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