Well, it's really half of my family -- the half that made John. The family that has SIX kids, now spread across five states. We all got together in mid-July in Laguna Beach, California -- something that hadn't happened since this day in Laguna Beach nearly eight years ago:
That was taken on our wedding day -- one of the clearest September Saturdays in Southern California just about anyone had seen in their lives -- mere months after the eldest child in first photo was born.
But on the more recent day in Laguna, everyone left behind their rented tuxes and high heels in favor of rash guards and flip flops for a day that would eventually end up a few blocks away at Shaw's Cove, a beach where John and his siblings often went as kids.
Later that day, we all descended on Brian and Geri's house in Long Beach, which in my lifetime has proven to be One of Those Places Where You KNOW You'll Always Have a Kick-Ass Time, and where they've cleverly erected an homage to the Temple at Chavez Ravine in their backyard:
(Here's the original, which stands sentinel over Dodger Stadium from the hills behind the third base line.)
So, what do you suppose a bunch of Irish-German folks, gathered together for the first time in eight years, will do with themselves once reunited?
(They even have the ashtray to prove it.)
One of the best parts of the reunion was watching the new generation, cousins who rarely get a chance to play together, get to know each other better. But because they're kids, the ice -- with a little help of a computer video game or a few plastic swords or the inflatable pool in the backyard -- is always quickly broken.
Here's hoping another eight years don't pass by before we do it all over again.