Sunday, November 28, 2004

tarzan and company take chitown

The Rinder clan was in full effect this past weekend, in celebration of our first Thanksgiving together, bringing the East and the Midwest together. It was a gathering of those surviving members of the family, 7 Rinders by blood, who carry the legacy of generations of survivors. The Rinder family was not alone in the struggle, as I discovered after hearing stories from Chris about his mother's family. There is strength in this blood, and good fortune, too.

This all began during the summertime, at which time Betty began to insist upon gathering us together for the next big holiday. The Chicago Rinder family has never had a big family gathering for the holidays, and so this time around, they doubled the size of the standard Thanksgiving party, where East met Midwest, and West joined in for the fun... and it was a lot of fun.

The spirit of the group created a very pleasant atmosphere, unlike any that I can remember in all my family gatherings. I was genuinely happy to see my siblings, as they were to see me, and to experience the uniting of those last decendents of Aaron Rinder, who I learned was born in 1899. We were delighted to also be celebrating an addition to this group in lieu of Betty's announcement that she is pregnant. To add to the good news, Marisia's cancer treatments are complete, and she is in the process of recovery. Despite her weakened state, she was unstoppable in and around the kitchen where she created our magnificent Thanksgiving feast. That feast was off the hook! It had to be the love and consciousness that went into the preparation that made this such a memorable and incredible dinner.

We had such a pleasant and relaxed Thanksgiving, and really spent the day being together, and perfecting the art of enjoying each other's company. It was truly incredible to witness a holiday during which voice are raised only in laughter and excitement, and where arguments over petty bullshit never enter the equation... there was absolutely no tension between Greg, Natalie, Mom, Dad or myself. I'm speechless.

The whole dynamic between our families is so good, so positive, that it makes me incredibly grateful for the family that I have. And the chemistry of this group, the mix of personalities and characters, is charming. I think it speaks volumes about the synergy of this group when I'm reminded of dancing together with my brothers and sister... that was about the most fun I have ever had, period. It was truly awesome. There is something really amazing about being able to experience such simple happiness with those who are blood, some of whom know you as well as you know yourself, and to stand in awe of that moment, and thanking the universal spirit to be related to such maginficent human beings. Chris and Betty are amazing and beautiful people that have grown up much like we did, so they can relate to us as well as we can relate to one another. It's wonderful... I always wanted a big family, and our New Jersey family often fell short of meeting my expectations for a joyful and loving family. This family in Chicago is different... I remember meeting Marisia and Benek in San Diego, and I dug their vibe from the getgo. Then meeting Chris and Betty filled a missing piece in my life... that big family tree was complete. These are people that make me proud to call family.

Now looking back at our first Thanksgiving together, I see such potention in this family to join together and create a meaningful difference in all of our interdependent lives. Amen, right on, shalom, aloha, and namaste!