The Alter and Peckham families--a terrific crew
My family and I spent Friday at my brother’s ranch with most of his family. We number close to 30—fifteen adults and thirteen children of varying ages. Getting us together is often like herding cats but this opportunity came up suddenly and worked well. The girls tried to make it work-free for Cindy but there’s no stopping her. Jenn, my niece, did a lot of the work, and Colin brought potato casserole. John cooked tenderloins, and with an array of snacks, we ate way too much.
John had promised good weather so the kids could play outdoors. Good luck with that—when I work that morning it was wet, cold, and gloomy. But as a woman I knew used to say, “It faired off” into a pleasant day…and the kids did mostly disappear outside. It tickles me to ask Jordan if she knows where her child is and she says no but appears completely unconcerned.
For the adults, the attraction was twofold—a chance to be together and a focus on the TCU/UT football game. My kids grew up with their cousins close by---Sunday dinner every week. So though they rarely see each other these days, they are tightly bound by memories.
We have only one diehard UT fan among us—Megan’s husband Brandon. I didn’t realize before but he’s a vocal fan—very. Three of my four went to TCU as did Jenn; her husband grew up in a TCU family. So B. was outnumbered but undaunted. Until he grew quieter as the game progressed. In those agonizing, drawn-out last few minutes, he said to me “I have never seen a team so utterly defeated.” And they were—heads hanging, some in tears. What made it so poignant was the knowledge that Coach Charlie Strong would be replaced…and he was promptly on Saturday. But he conducted himself throughout the game with dignity and grace, and I kept thinking what an impossible position he was in.
It may well have been the first game I watched in years. I brought my iPad and read my book, but watched with one ear, more drawn by the drama of the rivalry and the coach’s awful position than by the technicalities of football, which I don’t pretend to understand. Of course, I wanted TCU to win and was cheered when they did.
Today, everyone’s gone home. After family leaves, it’s sort of like coming down from a high. You do the things you ignored and need to, but your mind wanders to special moments—watching my brother’s grands and realizing they are as close to each other as mine, brunch (at 12:30) at Ol’ South and watching best buddies Ford and Jacob have a big-time disagreement, talks with various of my children at different times, often late at night; listening to the young mothers giggle over their concerns and joys, their voices increased a bit by wine; falling into bed at night grateful for all of them and optimistic about the days ahead, but so ready to sleep.
The cottage is perfect for visits like this—the family stays mostly in the main house, where it’s generally too noisy for me; but one by one or several at a time they wander out to the cottage, where I welcome their company. Maddie, my oldest grand, joins the adult conversations as a matter of course; her younger sister swings either way but this weekend was mostly drawn to the X-box games with her younger cousins.
The Tomball Alters took my car, promising to have it tuned and brightened.
Here, Morgan and Kegan look pretty pleased to be on the
way to Tomball in a convertible.
Today was back to business for me—I have quite a bit of work on my desk (including Christmas) but got some done today. I’m reading a mystery I want to finish before I dig into editing a lengthy manuscript, so I look forward to reading—when work becomes pleasure.
Okay, guys, let’s charge ahead into Christmas, the most joyous season. I’m looking forward to it a lot and hope you are too.