Invite them and they will come. Who knew it would be so easy? A couple of weeks ago, Brad and I had a family party at our house. We live in a house that Brad’s grandparents, Richard and Norma, owned and there is a lot of history here for the Canans. I thought it would be fun to invite everyone back to the old homestead so they could reminisce and we could hear some awesome stories from the family. Immediately everyone was on board and looked forward to getting together. Before I knew it, we had a tent, picnic tables and even a port-a-pot. Luckily this wasn’t the Canans’ first rodeo. Thank goodness! I’m not much of a hostess and this family made it so easy.
I’ve been married to a Canan for nearly 20 years. And every year I learn more and more about these people that makes me admire them more. Brad’s cousin Gary stopped by one evening to drop off some pictures for the party. As he got out of his truck, he had a smile on his face; he remembered time and time again how he would pull up to this house and he would drive over a little hump in the parking area. It was great to see that little sparkle in his eye as he remembered good times here on Vine Street.
I learned from Brad’s brother, Jim, that back in the day there was no need to have a family reunion because every weekend, everyone came to Gram and Paps. This was the place to be. Not just for the family but for friends, too.
Aunt Bev brought one of her best friends, Pat Unger, to the party. It was awesome to see photos of these two girls standing in the living room posing for prom pictures with their future husbands.
The porch is no longer closed in like it once was. Where there once stood a garage now sits our shed. If you look closely, you can still see indentations in our yard where another building used to be. There even was a race track in the yard where all the kids rode their minibikes.
How lucky am I to live in a house that has grown so much love? It’s not often we all get together, but when we do, the energy is amazing. I wish that I had known Norma longer and that I would have had the pleasure of meeting Richard. I want to hug them. I want to thank them. I want to emulate them. They raised a wonderful, beautiful family. Even though they are no longer with us and have been reunited with Jed, Donnie, Tim, Boomer and Craig, the love continues to grow.
As I looked out into the yard and watched the generation before us, our generation and the next generation enjoy the heck out of each other, I felt blessed. Blessed to be a part of a family that loves each other unconditionally. No jealousy. No unease. No one looking like there was someplace better to be. It was the perfect day.
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Heather Canan is a freelance writer who lives in Bradford with her husband and twin daughters. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-417-4317. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.