Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 7: Thankful For Family

I was a Hamilton for 27 years. I have always been proud to be a Hamilton. I have been equally as proud to be a Maris for 25 years. Both heritages consist of creative, God-fearing, hard-working European-American immigrants.  By next year I will almost have been a  Maris for as long as I'd been a Hamilton.

This weekend I spent time with more Marises than I'd ever seen at one time.

We celebrated Dad Maris's 80th birthday with most of his brothers and sisters, and all six of his children and most of their spouses. My mother-in-law and my sister-in-law tease each other by calling one another 'Mrs. Maris' because  it is our married name and we share it. More Mrs. Marises joined us! There were 5 of 7 original Marises present as well as all 6 of grandpa's children, and the in-law Maris wives. (This is beginning to sound like the St Ives poem about wives and cats!)

After several decades of people hearing my married name and asking if it had two r's, I was surrounded by a roomful of people who knew my name and shared it. There's some sort of gratification in that, you know?

To top it all, I discovered what I suspected. They're all lovely people with whom I would have wanted to spend time, even if I wasn't related! 

The party included lots of food (surprise) and lots of stories about Grandpa and their life in rural Kansas. There was some discrepancy about the memory of a butchered hog being hung in one of the bedrooms to cure, and a highly corroborated story about Grandpa (Robert is the oldest son, after all) being some sort of family policeman, keeping kids in line. No surprise there either.

Grandma Maris worked very hard to put it all together and bring people from multiple states in one month's time without Grandpa knowing!

But the best part of all was the signature half-grin on Grandpa's face all weekend long. It was a memory for a lifetime, and I'm honored to be part of such a wonderful family!

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