There is no end in sight to the holiday festivities we’re enjoying this season. Based on high praise from our cousin, Nikki, we headed to Attleboro, Massachusetts one cold, crisp December night to take a look at the La Salette Shrine, noted for its Christmas light display. Dating back to 1953, the annual display has grown to “300,000 lights illuminating over 10 acres” which was enough of a draw to warrant the 20-minute ride down the highway. We were prepared to ooooh and aaaah … and we did. Despite the freezing temperatures, hundreds of people wandered the grounds. It was a pretty spectacular display. Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the pix.
Continuing with our seasonal, spirit-lifting festivities, we headed to Leominster, Massachusetts recently for a family holiday celebration. Though my immediate family is small … just one sib, my sister, Lin … our extended family, including aunts, first cousins, second cousins, third cousins and cousins once or twice removed, is huge since my Mom was one of 14 kids. We have a hard time distinguishing the correct cousin relation terminology, but we know for sure that we all enjoy getting together. Long ago, it was easier when our Mémère was still alive and her August birthday was a good opportunity for a summer family reunion. Nowadays, it’s harder to get everyone together.
As we get older, family seems more and more important to us all. About four years ago, the cousins decided that an annual get-together would be a great opportunity to see each other, meet new members of our ever-growing family and celebrate our kinship. We eat, drink, make merry, share stories, catch up on each others’ lives, tell tales and take part in a lively, family-themed Yankee swap. Last Sunday was the Dozens of Cousins Christmas party and it was grand.
I am always amazed at my family … how different we all are, but so much alike … sharing the same roots. Having been away for extended periods over the past couple of decades, I’ve missed many family events. Seeing these familiar lifelong faces, meeting a new generation of cousins, hugging and being hugged (and believe me, this is a family of huggers!), and sharing these few hours that we get together each year enriches me. Thank heavens for big, wonderful families!