Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Story Cake

I'm on holiday!

You can tell right?

I did one of my favorite things while visiting home for the holidays: took leisurely time to enjoy coffee at a Starbucks. 2 of my siblings were available and my parents. In fact, I even invited my oldest daughter to join us. I told her she had really turned a corner. At 15 she was having her first coffee, even actually drinking coffee (as opposed to a foo-foo I'm at Starbucks but won't drink anything that tastes like coffee-coffee) with the grownups.

The 6 of us sat there and did precisely what I love to do.
We told stories.
We laughed because my brother tells stories with (we suspect) added drama.
We chuckled because my sister gets defensive when we tell the stories about her stubbornness and tendency to have caused me angst as a child.
The siblings got hysterical when mother throws her hands up in exasperation. She can't believe we remember her acting like that.
My dad's whole belly shakes with laughter because these are all new stories to him. Most of these antic happened while he was out driving his big rig and we never had the nerve to tell him what happened while he was gone.
My daughter laughed and laughed and laughed at our stories. She shares that she is hoping someday she'll have moments like this with her 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I think think she will. The shear fact that I have 5 children comforts me that we still have a crazy life ahead of us full of potential memories. My daughter doubts me. She says all kids do now a days is play video games and sit at the computer. They never make their own fun. We all get solemn for a moment pondering her theory.
Most of our stories revolve around our friends in our old neighborhood. The very same neighborhood I drew a map of a few entries ago. I loved it! All the memories I recently explored and pulled out of my memory grew in strength and power.
Sitting there and watching everyone toss in their memories and stories ... it felt like we were creating something. A fancy cake perhaps. Or a gourmet meal.  
I had some ingredients - memories.
We tossed in a few more ingredients - other's memories.
We mixed it all up with drama.
We baked it.
Frosted it with humor.
We decorated our Story Cake with characters and what we had created was a beautiful masterpiece. It was everyone's favorite flavor and we all marveled at how much we enjoyed it. We savored our creation.

And I was thankful for my neighborhood map. It came alive that day at the coffee shop. Our memories and friends, even our past tragedies and victories came to life over lattees and mochas. I was transported on the sound of laughter to relive those times.

That's why coffee shop visiting is one of my favorite things to do. To me it means talking and visiting and storytelling. Stories are powerful. We need to tell them more. We need to live today so that tomorrow we'll have a story to tell.

May you make your own story cake.

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