Lasagna and Aggravation

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The leaves rustle as the breeze blows through the pecan trees on this warm summer evening. The sun is nestling into the horizon, yet the nearby city bustles with life. Pink and orange clouds lazily cross the sky, and a train whistle blows in the distance. My sister and I look at each other in excitement, for we know the train will eventually pass across the street from our home-away-from-home.

We glance back at our parents, and then scurry into the house: up the outside steps, through the iron screen door, and into the back screen porch. Next to us there is a full freezer, and we know that our after-dinner frozen treat is nestled in the cool machine.

From the depths of the house, we hear a familiar, “we forgot to lock the door again,” followed by the laughter of the enormous family that we so adore.

Walking into the kitchen, we see that nothing has changed. The kitchen table where our dad ate as a child will later serve our family lasagna, but we will not be able to squeeze even half of the relatives around it. Memoirs of every person who loved this old house scatter the kitchen. We can sense the ghosts of the lives lived in this house lurking in every corner. We imagine our grandmother growing from a daughter to a mother here, the mischief created by our father and his brothers in the bunk room upstairs, our aunt’s campfire girl’s meetings held in the living room, the endless games of Aggravation played by our cousins at the table, and we can still hear the laughter of our loved ones that constantly rings throughout the house.

Then they all make their way in to greet us: aunts, uncles, and cousins of all ages, each as charismatic as the next. They joke and jest with each one of us about one thing or another. We’re all smiling, hugging, and genuinely happy to be together, and ready to fashion fond new memories to joke about at the next reunion, which can’t arrive soon enough.





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