We sat across the table from my life-long friend and her husband, in that familiar restaurant (shown above) where I and my family and friends have gathered for years. All around us the clinking sounds of the dishes and flatware, the ice in glasses, the voices, the aromas blended together in a kind of symphony you only hear in that place.
Across the table we looked each other in the eye and shed a tear or two…remembering being ten years old and riding bikes, going to “catfish hole” — a place in a cow pasture shaded by trees, and a make shift parade where we threw sawdust for confetti. We became those little girls again, with pony tails, skinned knees, bikes with streamers on the handle bars.
We gathered in that familiar place that for me is filled with memories, and we connected as though we had never lived hundreds of miles apart for 17 years. I snapped a quick photo on my cell phone just to remember this gathering.
I had made this pilgrimage to my home in Illinois, along with my daughter, and we gathered with many, many other people to share our sympathy with the family who lost a wife, daughter, mother, and friend. (See my last post.) Following that visitation we shared a meal, hence the “stuff” behind this post.
That is what I have been thinking of ever since. More precisely I’ve thought a lot of just gathering, being together.
Because when we gather we gain strength from one another. We see into each other’s eyes and we breathe in the same space. We share in the energy that is present. We take courage from each other. Sometimes we even take on the fears of those around us. Or the sadness. The laughter can be just as contagious as the tears.
Then, these places where we have gathered become kind of sacred to us. The connection of place to precious times binds us together in our hearts, in our memory. This favorite restaurant, for me, is one of those.