Enduring 3 days of stale air in an Embassy Suites hotel next to a strip mall in Denver, Colorado was only made bearable by my lovely family. My grandparents, Millie and Bob are in their 90th year, so to celebrate, my aunts rounded up brothers, sisters, great aunts and cousins to surprise the polyester blend right off their backs. And it worked. As soon as my grandpappies witnessed the hoards of loved ones standing before them, their mouths dropped and a youthful twinkle sparked their too-tired eyes. Like many reunions, there involved an obligatory summation of what I'd been up to. In this case, I hadn't had a longish conversation with any of my cousins in nearly five years and so rambling in a slightly frenetic manner was unavoidable. Sipping on endless glasses of free red wine was also unavoidable for most of us - including my 93 year old great aunt Viola who passed out after downing three glasses on an empty stomach. (My cousin Andria later checked up on her in her room to make sure she was still breathing. Thankfully, she was, but the next morning we all had to reintroduce ourselves.) This was the most action the 90 year-old folks have had in several years, so afternoon naps were mandatory after stuffing ourselves full of eggs from the omelette cart. To please my grandparents further, my father, sister, sister's boyfriend, brother, brother dog, stepmother and mammal in crime MTH - all sole worshipers of trees- went to Sunday mass at the Risen Christ Church. As soon as two tweens entered the premises wearing pro-life t-shirts I knew we'd be in for a treat. I thought I could simply think of the experience as a bad round of religious karaoke, but after the sixth out-of-tune hymn, my nerves got the best of me and consequently, I masticated my nails to the bone while other, more holy individuals, took communion.
Though I didn't have bouts of enlightenment or a deep desire to worship JC in that particular environment, I found a new appreciation for my father who allowed his children to worship whatever or whoever we wanted to. Thanks for that daddio! My love for trees, polar bears, squirrels, stars, dust, smiles and aardvarks is abound!