Family Fathers and Hot Dogs

by Cynthia Johnson on June 12, 2013

It was early morning and I was on my third load of dishes from a family barbeque last Saturday that stretched well into Sunday.  Odd as it sounds, I love that part of a family get together; when everyone has gone and the only thing left, are the dishes.  I normally hate to do dishes in the evening, but there is something about washing dishes after a family gathering that is different; the time alone with my thoughts thinking quietly about the people who were just here, and also the people who are no longer here.

I feel thankful for the family, the food and the love we share.  Within the circle of everyone’s family are void places, some not completely present – going through trying times, some  not quite themselves. Family can sometimes be difficult, but I think it is also because we don’t tell pretty lies to uphold relationships built on other agenda. It’s the foundation upon which we build everything else.  Family can come in the door just as they are, healthy or not so healthy, happy or a bit grumpy, and receive what it is they need, hot dogs and potato salad or the spiritual food that comes from sitting in a circle outside listening to the night sounds, long after the grill has cooled and a baby lies sleeping. The sound of soft laughter, arguing about which star we are looking at, not needing to talk about anything important because being with the  people that love you for who you are, not where you are or what you are –is important enough.

A few years back I asked my husband Dave what he wanted for Father’s Day, he thought for a moment, rubbing his chin, and suddenly he blurted out, hot dogs.  I want hot dogs, every kind, ball park, bratwurst, Italian sausage, etc, all day.   And so it began and Wienerfest is now in its 9th year.  A time to honor fathers and sons.  We usually have a fire in the pit and  someone ends up pulling out some fireworks, and then like an episode of I Love Lucy, the women end up inside away from the noise and the men outside talking what they talk when we are not around.  This year was a quiet one, no fire, and no segregation between the sexes.  It was unusually peaceful.  The smell of wild roses sweetened the air and we just sat. Together.

Even though it was an outdoor affair, this year I decided I was not going to contribute to the landfill with paper anything, so no paper plates, plastic cups or utensils.  I think there were about eighteen of us, and we used my dishes.  All of them.  I even broke out the Christmas glasses.  As I was washing the old family platters and odd bowls, some my own, some had been my mother’s, others from Dave’s family, I realized they are like members of the family themselves.    As much as we all have changed and continue to change, the family shrinks, then it grows again, the dishes are what remains.  An old dented aluminum cake cover from my mom that covered too many birthday cakes to count.  Each time I wash these dishes I think of my parents and Dave’s and all of our grandparents, and somehow even though they are long gone, a piece of them remains reflecting outward in the glass bowls, and the thinning china and, I remember.  So many gatherings, before I became the caretaker of them, still echoing a family’s love, suddenly missing those aunts and uncles you always took for granted childishly thinking they would always be there, tucked off in another room chatting about nothing, that somehow now you wish you could remember.

Next Sunday is Father’s Day, try going paperless.  If you are lucky enough to be washing a pile of dishes take that time to remember those who have moved on to the softer side of life.  They continue to be, they continue to work, they continue to learn, with one difference from us – they do all of this on the stream of complete love and understanding, basking in the satisfaction of knowingness.  They know we struggle with this for they were us.  They know what we wish we knew, or  perhaps  I should say, what we  know and doubt.  Please know they are there.  Talk to them, ask for guidance.  If your father was not the father you wished he was when he was living, he is right there wanting to make things right.  He knows. Ask for his fatherly assistance now. You will be doing him a great favor allowing him to do you one.  Or maybe you are a father with a son or a brother or a sister or a mother that has passed. They do not have the power to change fate, or maybe they know that is not what we need, but love is the most powerful force in existence.  They can help through positive assistance. Different from angelic help, which I speak of often.  If this makes you tear up, then know that emotion is always a contrast of where you are and where you want to be. Allow the emotion to flow through you, acknowledge it, don’t suppress it.   Use it as a path out of anger or sorrow You will be getting a jump start on what we will all ultimately know and hold as true. I truly believe with all that I am, we need to gain spiritual speed and although I do not know the full reason, I know the angels are coming closer and wish to be part of our lives, and I also know they have our family members and loved ones with them, allow their peace to flow through your life. It is the greatest gift you can possibly give to yourself, and to everyone else.

Until next week,




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