Love Among the Memories
I found myself this past weekend in the lush surrounds of Lancaster, PA, Lititz to be exact, home of Wilbur Chocolate and Linden Hall, now the oldest girl’s school in America, founded in 1747, also my former high school. I arrived on no more beautiful day than I can ever remember. Spring was in full bloom, dogwoods with their pink and white blossoms coloring the landscape, rich green grass sprouting fully from the fertile dark soil of this farmland. Everywhere color and abundance, cool air, the perfectness of Pennsylvania in the spring.
I hiccupped in on a small plane from Atlanta this past Friday, eager for a visit with my dear Aunt Sue and Uncle Jack. For 43 years I’ve visited them on a beautiful ‘farm’ which was had been in our family for generations. At one time it boarded many horses and when I was young, a llama named Pepito, one of the Uncle’s strange and wonderful gifts to his wife Sue. Pepito entertained us all for years and the horses as well with his comical antics and random spitting if he was displeased.
We enjoyed many a party on Buch Avenue, the adjoining servants carriage house from the 1800s turned into guest quarters. My family knows how to party and have never been known to hold back. With all varieties of food and the libations flowing for sure, my family works hard and plays hard, each and every member! We’re a family of entrepreneurs, this gene running strongly through our blood from generations before.
Though a large and sprawling house, the dining room was not large enough to house our growing family of new husbands and wives and the many children who came along the way. My Uncle Jack and Sue fashioned one year their three car garage into ‘party quarters’, transforming long workbenches into buffets areas, tables long enough to seat 25 or more. Such events often ended in dancing or games and one year, the boys lining up, raising the garage doors and ‘mooning’ the neighbors for fun. (I can see Sue shaking her head, as the mother of three riotous boys can only do)!
Having joined several family members in marriage on the estate, one year I remember the most glorious weather, June I think. My aunt, a true Martha Stewart type woman, (before the jail incident)….tenacious and exacting, had every detail of the wedding in tact. The ceremony was to be held around a gazebo surrounded by every summer flower you might imagine and rainbow of color. The sky was clear with narry a cloud and we all entered around the gazebo while chamber music played.
My Aunt Sue entered proudly, dressed in her flowing taffeta, the proud Mother of the Groom. She sat down just in front of me. Everything was in order. I remember someone readying a poem, a song being sung and then the ceremony began, vows were being spoken.
And then, as though God were issuing a reminder, one lone grey cloud toodled its small self across the sky and stopped directly above the ceremonial gazebo. The rest of the sky continued its blue display but Mr. Grey Cloud instantly began a downpour as the ‘I dos’ were issued forth.
My most vivid memory is my soon-to-be new cousin, Lesley, laughing with joy in her eyes and then my Aunt Sue’s head falling to her chest, me almost hearing what she was no doubt thinking….’ooooh, for God’s sake’…..and indeed it was, reminding us that life is perfect in all ways, the ups, downs and turn arounds, it is all in divine order.
We all ran for cover under a large tent where the buffet was to be served. Our playful cloud had dissipated, having performed its task for the day, for us all to learn this important lesson should we choose.
With matted hair and extra wrinkled linen, there was no more perfect day or memorable wedding, and I’ve attended quite a few!
Joi de vivre! Live for the day.