Entertaining angels

We spent Thanksgiving day with a huge chunk of my husband’s large Irish Catholic family, which is always a fantastic meal and a time filled with the noise of children and the laughter that comes from re-living family stories, spontaneous singing and dancing, and observing the humorous interactions that come when three generations are gathered in one place.

ellisisland.jpgAll those gathered are descended from five sisters, four of whom – Kitty, Nora, Anna, Della – emigrated to the US in the 1920’s while the fifth and youngest, Mary, took care of the family farm in County Mayo and followed much later. In the finest of Irish family traditions it was difficult to tell whose children belonged to whom because they all grew up together on the same block of 138th Street in the South Bronx. In fact Tom and I were already married before I fully matched up the “aunts and uncles” with their parents, realizing that two had borne none of the nine in Tom’s mother’s generation. That emigrating first generation has gone on in the past couple of years, leaving three generations to carry on (and carry on they do!).

100_2357.JPGOnly 4 of the 11 second generation cousins (who have 9 spouses and soon to be 20 children among them) were missing from this particular holiday gathering and there was one guest. We got to meet new spouses and new babies, a pleasure delayed by distance and circumstances. The newest addition to the children of the clan is Kate (picture inset), but younger twins are expected by the end of this month.

“The Aunts” as that first generation is called by one and all, would have adored the chaos their great-grandchildren were making, and would have busied themselves giving marriage advice to the newest wed (and as of yet childless) couple, parenting advice to those with babies, and playing pranks with the eldest (whom they did actually get to know and properly dote upon). By the time we got to the end of the evening I could still see them with their Sunday coats on, buttoned up and purses on their shoulders with their hands folded in their laps waiting for their ride to cooperate and leave the party. Some memories never fade. They would also have found a way to get into this play that the youngest children did yesterday, and that I dedicate to the many happy memories of The Aunts, for whom many are thankful.

[googlevideo:http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-7809380949590016225&hl=en 400 326]
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