This trip was eight years from the last time I visited, and seven years for Fernando. It was entirely too long. Tony (Fernando's brother) and Kirsten provided room and board for us while we were there, and our first full day there, Saturday, was a time to get together with family.
Out in Tony's garage, the brothers played pool. I'm so glad someone suggested getting a picture of them together!
Joe, Tony, Fernando, Marc, Rick
A little later, the guys came in for another family picture with their sister.
Joe, Tony, Marc, Rick, Alma, Fernando
On Sunday morning (11/29), Fernando and I attended a service for Tia Dora, and the parlor was packed with family--many cousins, aunts, and uncles who were familiar, and others both of us were meeting for the first time. It had been eight years since I had been out, and almost as long for Fernando. It was so good to connect with la familia after so long an absence.
After the service, we ate with the family, then headed back to Tia's home to visit with family. Toward the end of the afternoon, the group gathered for pictures on the front lawn.
Below is the entire group, with Athena holding her grandmother's (Tia Dora's) portrait. It's a beautiful testament to the enduring bond this family shares.
A few days later, we went back to visit with whoever remained at the house--one last time before we each returned to our own homes and who knows how long until the next visit. Fernando's brother Tony shone his mobile phone flashlight on us so I could get a picture in the dark! And Fernando made a super-goofy comment to get everyone laughing.
It was an entirely appropriate ending to our cherished time together: laughter.
Back to life,
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