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Yesterday while out-of-town on a kid errand (our youngest plays a travel sport) we found ourselves near a sort of long-lost relative.  The soccer team was celebrating with a pool party at the hotel, so my husband and I ventured out for a happen-stance visit.
I think my generation, baby boomers, is the last to practice and embrace this tradition.  When we say to each other ” hey, don’t be a stranger!” We actually are extending an open invitation.  Its something I really miss in our daily modern life and family.  We were in the neighborhood ( only a 45 minute drive from the hotel) so we did “drop-in”

 Unannounced, as that is the custom of my fellow “Boomers.”

After some winding around and false recognition (we had probably been lost that way before) we pulled up to the house of uncle Charlie.

Our plan had been to say a quick hello, or to stay for an hour if we weren’t interrupting something.  But the 6 years since we had last visited melted away in seconds and we sat on their beautiful long front porch scanning the crop laden horizon for hours.  While big city newspapers boast of all the news that’s fit to print, we sat in the shade swinging back and forth with cold tea and long-winded updates and re-visitations of all sorts of matters.

This is what I miss and want to hand down to my grandchildren. Unfortunately, it is lost and likely will be gone forever.   This seamless feeling of acceptance, of connectedness and of belonging to a family. I know it can’t always be like this.  It’s just a fact of life that some of us will never get along and “play nice” with all of our relatives.  In truth, if we had not been “in the neighborhood” we probably wouldn’t have made the effort.  But on that porch, on that hot afternoon, with those lovely people who look like my husband, and whom my children half resemble, that was bliss.