The next picture comes from later that Saturday night. After a long day that hurt left its’ mark on both our bodies and our spirits we gathered for some family time. We landed at the other sister’s house (trying to keep the elusive Donna’s family even more elusive). It’s become a family tradition, one that Donna’s Dad enjoys almost as much as a fresh cigarette, to play a game called ‘Cornhole’. Two teams of two each face off about 20 feet apart. On both sides there is a sloping board with a hole cut near the top, centre (no, that’s not misspelled) part of the board. One side and then the other takes a turn trying to land a corn filled (hence the name) cloth bag onto the board or into the hole. The board is worth a point, the hole is worth 3. You cancel the other teams points by landing a bag the same way they did (on the board/in the hole) and you play to 21. It involves style, strength, strategy and stupid luck.
While we played, Nate, my oldest, had tuned up his uncle’s guitar and was playing some covers from the hanging bench swing. His grandpa was in fine form on the Cornhole pitch and started to dance a little jig as Nathan played a tune. This was both fun and frightening at the same time. A stroke has left him a little off balance and a little weak on one side so as he danced we held our breath to see if he would land in the pool to his right, the firepit to his left or keep both feet under himself. Happily he kept upright but anyone walking by would have concluded we were a hard core, Pentecostal family “dancing in the Spirit” with our hands raised high praising the Lord rather than an entire family reaching out in the hope that one of us would catch him if he fell towards water or fire. Once the sun was set and it was too dark to keep playing we all took a seat around the fire.
The backyard fire pit really is a great invention bringing the warmth, the intimacy and the sacredness of the fireside to the ‘burbs. The sibs, their spouses and some of the kidlings sat in a semi-circle around it. It was a balmy night, the stars were out, and a slight breeze slid over us and the wood fire created a warm glow. My oldest, Nate, who had found his uncle’s guitar, serenaded us in the firelight with Dave Matthew’s covers, a little Billy Joel on guitar – the piano man on a six string, and some U2. Stories were told, laughter shared, more memories made. The night ran into the next morning and little by little we left the fire as the need for sleep caught up with us.