Cookouts & birthdays

Cookouts are one of those traditions that cross between seasons without much change.  As soon as the weather is nice enough to haul out the grill, they start – and keep going until the first snow flies.  (And sometimes a while after.)  We’re at that perfect point in early autumn now where cookouts are perfect in the evening; the sun starts going down, the temperature falls with it, you pull on a sweatshirt and eat a few fresh-grilled dogs or burgers, and life is good.  It kind of makes everything seem right with the world.

Mandy’s family got together on Sunday for a combination cookout/birthday, celebrating her grandfather’s turning 69.  Which means we all got to sit around on the deck laughing & carrying on and eat birthday cake together.  I’m not sure how you could improve on an evening like that.  What I am sure of is that, coming from a small family myself, sometimes it’s nice to have the whole big gang around.  (Although I’ll admit that at other times, I just don’t know how to handle them.)

We sang “Happy Birthday,” badly and off key.  The dogs howled along with us and we made the usual jokes about having to call the fire department to put out the candles.  Some things never change no matter where you go, or who’s family you’re celebrating with.  Which is kind of nice.  It’s common ground when no one can sing that song and sound good doing it.

We came, we ate, we partied, we bullshitted, and we threw around a football a little (proving once again that some of us possess neither musical or athletic talents).  Mostly I think we all just felt good.  And went home feeling good.  Yes, the weekend was over and it was back to the grind in the morning.  But if you have a good enough time leading up to it, Mondays aren’t so bad.

I grabbed one last shot before we left, a portrait of Mandy that I really like.  The light is soft, the mood cheerful.  It’s just a simple portrait.  Which kind of captures the whole essence of the thing.

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