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family adventures: meal time (part two)

June 30, 2009

As I said before, our family trip over the Memorial Day holiday was full of laughter, and another example was the last family dinner of our mini-vacation.

It was Saturday night.  Graduation was over (hurray for Charles!).  We were leaving the next morning.  Since Dad and Grandpa wanted to get on the road by 7 AM,  we went to Saturday evening Mass at the seminary right after commencement.  We were all famished by the time Mass was over, so Charles suggested one of his favorite places to eat: Shamrocks.  Off we went to indulge in fabulous burgers.

It had been a long day for all of us, but we had enough energy to laugh while we enjoyed our meal.  Ordering is always a production.  Thankfully, our waitress seemed more amused than annoyed.  I sat next to Charles, who was unusually quiet, so I took the opportunity to enjoy the scene.  There were several conversations going on and laughter erupted frequently.  I couldn’t hear what was being said, but watching them converse, interact and relate stories  to one another was hilarious.

My family is very animated and expressive, whether they are telling a story or listening to one.  Dad was telling Rosario and Rita about something, and I could see my sisters groaning, rolling their eyes and trying to hold back their laughter.  Their expressions clearly said “Oh my gosh, Dad!  It’s not that even funny!  This is embarrassing!”  Dad was clearly enjoying making the girls groan with his silly story, as was Jeffery, who was egging Dad on.

When our food arrived, things livened up.  The burgers were HUGE, and everyone was ready to dive in.  We all laughed as I took several pictures of family members with their burgers – three had the same pose.  Rosario, Jeffrey and Charles were in attack mode as each of them showed off their victuals to the camera with knife in hand ready to pierce the already dead meat.

After our meal was consumed, we sat around for a bit, knowing good-byes would soon be in order.  Soon, the flash pots started going off.  We all wanted to capture our time together so we became a mini paparazzi.  Thanks to technology, it takes longer than it used to.  As soon as a photo is taken, the photographer and subjects want to approve of the shot.  I spent a good five minutes trying to get a decent shot of Rosario and Grandpa.

Grandpa had a little more energy with food in his belly, so he was a bit chatty.  Every time I snapped the camera, he was talking.  Finally, I put my foot down.

“Grandpa!  You were talking!  And you didn’t smile!”  I reprimanded.

“I wasn’t smiling?” he asked.  “I thought I was smiling.”  He turned to Rosario and said nonchalantly, “Humph.  I guess is must have been a gas pain.”  My grandpa doesn’t make comments like that, and it took my sister and I by surprise.  We looked at Grandpa, whose eyes were gleaming with mirth, and burst out laughing.

We took pictures of Rosario and I with Grandpa next.  In each one, Rose and I cracking up while Grandpa looks innocent and composed.  In actuality, he would make a joke right before Dad snapped the picture, capturing our reaction.

I tried to compose myself for one of the pictures.  I smiled and said, “Okay, Grandpa!  Make sure you smile!”

He looked at me with merriment and said, “I guess I’ll have to work up another gas pain.”

Ohhh – that man!  I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe!

When the photos were finally taken and breath finally caught, the tears started to flow.  It was time to say good-bye.  Charles gathered us around and thanked all of us for coming.

“I wanted to take a moment to honor all of you.  I know I was honored a lot this weekend by the other seminarians and the priests at SJV, and I want you to know that it a testament to all of you.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the foundation I received from my parents and grandparents.  So Mom and Dad, thank you for raising me with a strong faith.  And Grandpa, thank you for passing your Catholic faith to my parents so they could pass that on to me.  I honestly couldn’t have done any of this without your support.  Any compliment that was said about me includes each of you.  So thank you for being my family and for being here.  I love you.”

We all choked up as Rosario and Charles said their good-byes and I-love-yous to Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Jeffery.   The rest of us wouldn’t say our good-byes until the next morning after brunch, which will be told in part three.


grandpa cracks a joke


trying to hold in the laughter

all he does is make us laugh!

all he does is make us laugh!

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