Morning all and “malo e lelei” (hello in Tongan):

Wooo Wooo, weeks of anticipation and finally, the gang’s all here!

I have an hour or so of quiet before it breaks loose again. The “it” is the hubbub of happy talkative voices breaking out of the bedrooms and gathering in the kitchen—the warmest room in the house. You have to realize that just two days ago, Thursday to be exact, Kirstin and Derek left the 73 degree weather of Florida. Preceding these two by a day came a completely jet-lagged Adrianne and her friend Tevita, who rolled in from the 90+ degree summer weather of the South Pacific. So you can see that the winter temperatures and snow flurries of southern Ohio are a major shock to these folk. In fact seeing snow and ice was a first for Tevita. Ok, I best enjoy my coffee while I have the chance and before I continue my ramble.

Marcia and I are beginning to realize that for the last couple of years we have been much like cave dwellers. Day after day, night after night we have been living quiet lives in our “cave”, comfortable though it is. This lifestyle is otherwise known as “the empty nester.”

Night after night while sitting about our grotto quietly chomping away on the likes of spaghetti, salmon, or an occasional flank steak, we’d be vicariously marveling at the whirlwind of activity of an outside world, all via shows such as “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Now, all that hubbub previously only brought into the house via television is part of what we’re experiencing; and I love it! For both little Derek and Marin I have taken on the role of train engineer as we take some amazing trips loading and unloading the Lionel Santa Fe and the newer model Disney monorail. The latter fits perfectly underneath our grand piano.

Having Adrianne and her friend Tevita, who is Tongan, with us these days is a joy. Having had her away from us for a year and a half was long enough. Seeing her back for the holidays, happy and with a twinkle in her eye is in the words of a popular ad, “priceless”. Tevita is probably done in by the overall cultural shift and our stunningly dreary winter weather. Nevertheless he is emerging out of his shell. Just transporting from a village of 40 families to a city with a population several times larger than that of his whole nation and the first thing he saw were eight lanes of morning rush hour gridlock; it just had to be intimidating.

Kirstin in her newly expectant role looks glowing. Watching her, Cathy, and Jason parent their little guys is amazing. Reflecting on Marcia and my efforts having had a hand in nurturing our gang, then experiencing the quality adults and young parents they have turned into, makes it all so worthwhile.

Tonight Marcia and I are going to sit both grandkids as the young folk are off to enjoy an early Christmas gift—an Over The Rhine annual Christmas concert. Tomorrow we’ll all get together for our gift exchange since we’ll be in Michigan for Christmas and Jason Cathy and Marin will stay in town. No wonder I started off with a “wooo, wooo”, it really is almost too much—and Marcia who’s been fixing tons of food is now probably thinking “he’s right on that one!”

Who Dey¹ , make it a great week.
¹ From “who dey think going to beat those…..” For those who understand this normally chanted phrase no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, it wouldn’t make any sense anyway.

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