The Relay for Life is this weekend. I write that like it is the only Relay for Life happening anywhere, but it is actually the Relay I participate in. The kids and I started last year as part of “Team Taylor”, sponsored by the farm. My aunt is the driving force behind it as a cancer survivor, and because she seems to be the driving force behind much of what that side of the family does. I love her for this because it means I don’t have to be that force, I can sit back and enjoy it all. The Relay is followed by a gathering at the Lake house of family and friends. What’s fifty or so more people when you start with over twenty?
The Relay weekend was supposed to become the family Christmas in July. If you know anything about living near a Great Lake, you know that winter means snow. And wind. And more snow. And more wind. Put all that together and you have a big, sloppy winter weather sandwich. Coach swears that one year we went to sleep with bare ground and woke up with 2 feet of the white stuff. The last few years celebrating at Christmas time resulted in one uncle’s family and my parents not getting out. They closed the main highway just after we hopped on it. This isn’t some dinky county highway either, this is an interstate. It took a long time to get home those years.
So we switched to July. Which works out well. Farms are much more fun in the summer, especially with a Great Lake near by. You can actually swim in the water in July, not just look at the frozen swells. The Relay is an added bonus. We didn’t give gifts last summer having just exchanged in December, but we had a pig roast and birthday cake for my cousin and JMumbo.
JMumbo really did enjoy the kiss I think. He giggled the whole time.
The names were traded for gift giving and everyone was set. Then I threw the wrench (I do this often. For some reason I like to muck up the works). I sent out the email wondering if we really needed gifts. My kids didn’t need anything and I didn’t need them to receive any more stuff that I would have to clean up. (This was the true motive, less housework for me) My youngest cousin agreed, which is why I like her best, stating that it was about family, not stuff. Did I tell you how much I love her? After a brief discussion with my aunt about Christmas wine being a supply not a gift, the wrench melted away and the wheels started turning again.
I hadn’t meant this to turn into a synopsis of how we go about family gatherings, but a friend once told me that if there is a round about way to tell a story, I will find it and follow the meandering path. Just like I did with that sentence. What I really was thinking about when I started this was that I volunteered to bring salsa and was going to make some Tomato, Peach, and Onion salsa. I made some last summer and it was yummy. I defrosted some tomatoes and had some leftover canned peaches. Then I discovered the quart jar of it in the basement. Guess where my motivation went for making the salsa? Right out the window. Isn’t that awful? I sat down and wrote this blog instead, which has next to nothing to do with salsa. Talk about avoidance.
Although…the English major inside me does see a bit of a metaphor. Sometimes what you need just shows up, like the salsa or a beautiful weekend walking for a good cause and hanging out on a lake bank.