Last week, I stepped onto my patio to see this:

My parents’ beloved hot tub, surrounded by snow, framed by monster icicles.

Don’t you just feel cold and miserable looking at this?


But this week.  This week, my family is gathered with the other family we are not actually related to, but think of as our family, at our ramshackle little cottage in South Carolina.  At the beach.

We say we have all taken a week off to celebrate my brother’s graduation from law school.  (Summa cum laude!)  But I think it’s really just an excuse to get together and eat.  So far, we’ve eaten nearly ten pounds of delectable shrimp; fifteen fabulous cupcakes from Cupcake in Charleston, South Carolina; hundreds of pecans my mama shelled and toasted with her pretty hands; several pints of local strawberries that taste like June and sunshine; and fresh, crusty bread from the farmer’s market.  We have also talked endlessly about topics as diverse as coal mining engineering research; Supreme Court decisions influencing the development of beach front property; forklifts specifically designed for apiaries; and whose turn it is to go to the store for more ice.  My godson is here, and we have whiled away many hours watching him do all the things that two-year-olds do: walk, run, eat, and fall.

I am more relaxed than I have been in over a year.  And possibly a little chubbier, too.

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