Gathering

Gathering – to bring together or assemble from various places

I love period novels, television shows or movies where the characters participate in house parties.  Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey come to mind.  Historical estates such as the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina were the venue for such parties as well.

I like the idea of a group of people gathering together, “living” with one another for a period of time, even if only for a long weekend.  It may be for  an event such as a wedding or an activity such as hunting or simply a traditional outing for a change of scenery.  I recently experienced the latter.

As is our custom, my husband and I made an annual October pilgrimage to the mountains of North Carolina to enjoy the fall foliage and cooler temperatures.  We were joined by my parents, our son and his girlfriend, some cousins and some friends who are nearly as close as family.  A multi-generational group for sure.

We participated in a variety of activities; walks, hiking up the mountain, golf, shopping at a 100 year old general store, picking pumpkins at a pumpkin patch, listening to an oom-pah-pah band at Octoberfest, watching football and driving the mountain roads enjoying the colorful beauty of autumn.

My favorite thing, though, was sitting around the big pine table in the cabin breaking bread together. Sharing a meal of warm comforting beef stew, thick brown Irish bread from a mountain bakery slathered with Irish butter and freshly baked apple pie made local apples by the new student of the master baker.  Bliss

The conversation was lively and reminiscent.  “I think the leaves are the prettiest they have been in a long time.”    “Do you remember the year it snowed while we were up here?”  “I think all of Florida is here this weekend!”  “We saw 3 deer and a turkey on the Parkway.”

It was good to once again gather with family and friends and forget the cares of the world.   It was not audibly said, but, I know our thoughts were the same: “Dear God, thank you so much for the blessing of allowing us to be here in this place with family and friends and please, Lord, if you see fit, bring us back together next fall.

Thank you for the gift of gathering.

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