Sometimes life just hands you a gift. One gift it’s handed me is my little community of dog-walking friends. We walk just about every day in a park right near my house and chat about anything and everything: kids, food, books we’ve read, politics — you name it. One of our clan, Claire, had the inspired idea to bring us all together at her cozy house sans dogs, so we could have a chance to get to know each other a little better.
So for two evenings this winter, Claire has hosted pot-luck dinners. What could be more fun than sitting down at a lovely table of wonderful food? This Saturday, it was turkey, quiche, salad, pesto linguine, beets, sweet potatoes, delicious French cheeses — a true feast, accompanied by ample bottles of wine. Our only agenda: We relax, we eat, we chat, and most of all, we tell stories.
At our second evening together, stories fall from us like beautiful ripe fruit from a tree. There was the story of how Penny and Will came to adopt their dog from a shelter: how she picked them and became part of their family. There was Claire’s story of going to the town in Italy where her family was from and realizing as soon as she got there, that it felt like home. There was my story of my mom and her quest to find her birth father, and how my husband David found out about him and that my mom had a half sister, my Aunt Sandy, who totally embraced her after she had been rejected by her birth mother’s family.
And there was Don’s story: Like my mom, he was adopted. After a search, he was reunited with his birth mother and went on to have a warm and loving relationship with her family and his siblings. He described the trips that he and his brother took and how amazing it was to call his birth mother and hear her voice for the first time.
Stories: they are all around us. They bless us and keep us strong and whole.