The Family Tree

As I walk through my living room I can pause and listen and still hear the delicious echoes of laughter, good hearted derision and sighs from the heart:

What's with those OP corduroy  shorts?  Look how short they are!

Oh my gosh, look at our hair!!

Why are there 12 pictures of the same Easter Basket?

You actually wore that dress?  Out?

Oh look. Granddad...

Then I come back to the present and head on in to the kitchen to make some coffee, but the lingering memory is just too wonderful to abandon, so I indulge myself about New Year's Day all over again.

There it was on the floor late New Year's day 2012,  a virtual collage of photos spread all over the rug as my family sat poring over each and every photograph we pulled out of a huge bin I keep downstairs in the closet.   I have chastised myself over the years that I don't have photos organized into albums but instead rely on a box here, and a bin there to house the photos I have.  But on this day, the colorful chaos of disorganization played in my favor.  It was amazing, grabbing handfuls of pictures and examining them one at a time and then passing them on around the room.

At the urging of my daughter-in-law, I had fetched the bin and brought it out, and we all sat in a circle laughing and oohing and aahing  and remembering, heading together down a memory lane, a path we share as leaves on the family tree begun by my mother and father. The photo spread looked like a quilt, a comforter that time sewed. Or maybe better said, like the shady and comforting canopy of a living, growing tree.  Bliss was what New Year's day was.  Pure bliss.

If only there were a way to box up the bounty of leftover joy, the bliss we shared and give it to those who hunger for the inexpressible nourishment that comes from having a family to love and be loved by.

It's a gift, being a leaf on a living, growing family tree.  It really is.

Chris Shea is a La Mesa writer and frequent contributor to

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Comment by David B. Givens on January 30, 2012 at 8:28am

Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Susan Wong on January 28, 2012 at 7:56am

A perfect description of the day.

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