Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ace of Hearts

They say home is where the heart true. Even so, now that I am grown, I have more than one home where my heart hangs its hat. Every Christmas season, my parents host a card party. Last night was it. As the years have gone past, time allows nothing to stand still. Some of the faces are no longer present that once were at the party; my loving and happy Pap, my I want to tell her everything Grandma Wolf, the funniest Aunt...Eva with a great big heart and others. But today, still, the house is bustling with some traditional-couldnt have the card party without you faces and some new faces, and heaps and heaps of love from the hearts of family and friends. Let me take you there:

Walking up toward the back door with the wind chilling us, husband and I with each a baby boy in our arms. We see, puffs of smoke coming out the old stone "shop" building, with candles aglow in the windows. I loved the way the candles fogged the cold glass from the inside. My suspusion was correct.....Jonathan, the not so little anymore brother was in there. He was stoking the fireplace and getting music ready for guests, in case a game of pool and friends warrented so. "hello Jonathan I yelled and Happy card party!"

Enter through the rough door of the old farm house and into the cozy, toasty warm woodstove heated kitchen. There, Mom greets us, while hurrying along to perfectly place each tasty snack on the old, round oak table that she refinished a few years ago. Christmas green punch filled the glass bowl; peanut blosssums with hershey kisses perched on their throne, peacon dreams, Sadie's sugar cookies from her Grandmother's receipe, chex mix, bottles of wine, homemade vanilla ice cream and other yummy snacks mounded high on the table.

Here comes Dad, cold, worn and tired from another day working far harder than this daughter ever wishes he had too. He just got home from the barn...with time enough to grab a quick shower before festivities start. Biggest baby boy, begging to play with toy tractors, runs for the stairs because he knows exactly where to find his little treasure. Husband and I open generous Christmas gifts from my parents. Gratitude.

Not long, here begins the people that make the party what it is, pouring into the toasty warm kitchen. Greetings comense: Hello. Merry Christmas! So glad you could come. How have you been? To name a few.

Cards. Game known to us as "500." The throw down of Aces, Jokers, Jacks and off Jacks of the trump suit...if you'd be lucky enough to have one. Laughing. Snacking. Cousin Chase and sister Tara wearing Biggest boy's teenage mutant ninja turtle masks. Discarding, and gathering of trunps from the widow. Dad and Mom with big smiles enjoying this traditional night. Dealing. Collecting tricks...with hopes of making your bid. Uncle Charlie who wouldn't miss this night gathering up his cards, organizing them after they are delt; playing with Barry and others. Husband jumping right in there, and when he's luck struck...raking in the tricks and piling them up; one trick stacked one way, next stacked the other way so as to not lose count. Brother Darren, Grandy and Grandma playing at another table with more cards. Dealing. Discarding and gathering tricks. Grandy resides in the old press back rocking chair in the cornor, although 97 years old, still one of the sharpest 500 card sharks present. Littliest baby boy being passed around by loved ones, while biggest baby boy biting cookies and putting them back into the tin on the old oak table. Take a moment, Treasure this moment, give thanks to the loving God who has given us all this. Thank you for this night, this gift, these memories,; and please etch them in my mind, heart and soul forever...don't let me forget each detail. The voices, the faces, the love, the cards, the laughter, the silliness, the cousin who traveled over an hour on a work night because he wouldn't miss it, grand parents, parents, aunts, uncles, friends, husband, littliest and biggest baby boys, brothers and sister. All of this, all of it! All of it with the GREATEST gift of all looking down on us, surrounding us, baby Jesus on the mantel, there present in the room, filling the room with his love forever more. No matter how time passes, faces change, card parties change, life changes, His great love for us never changes or leaves. I leave this entry...overwhelemed.