Family Series, part 1: The Den

Our den was a beehive. Us coming in and rushing out. The blue glow from the nightly news. The red embers in the fireplace. Orange splashed here and there to offset the stark Danish furnishing. A bronze JFK. An iron eagle. A plaster Madonna in the corner. Us, a crew I thought typical back then. Six kids in stages of colorful rebellion.

Dance night. Once that new stereo got hooked up, 60’s rock entered the den. The front of the fireplace transformed into our stage. The reading dancinglamp twisted to shine upwards on our lip-synching. Fire pokers and longish twigs meant for kindling converted into microphones. Bursts of energy of movement of sound. Us riding the crest of pandemonium. Dogs too, jumping along like they couldn’t get enough of what we felt.

Images pop into my head even now, forty plus years afterwards. We snaked through early life with no one looking too far ahead. Nothing rocked us out of the moment. We were cemented into that time and place. Body and soul. We were a force.

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Ode to Place

In summer we find ourselves driving along the sandy roads of our past. The creep of time and population alter these places that call us home: dirt roads are now paved and dotted with new development, shopping malls replace the row of two-room cabins, old homes torn down for duplexes, but despite these changes you go back. Those of us lucky enough to descend from a large sprawling brood, lucky enough to remember when the whole sea-side town part of that extended family, yearn to see what remains of the the old haunts, to hear the old familial laugh, to glean from the next generation of faces those same big eyes or jaw line you knew way back when you tooled around with your gang of cousins going from beach to kitchen to beach to ice cream stand.