Thursday, November 26, 2009

For Keeps

On Thanksgiving, you know where to find us. 10 am, Katonah Park, until the noon whistle blows; Contesting this trophy.

No name of any member, past or current, was forgotten on this 50th anniversary. More than 70 strong. This t-shirt moved me. Every name that means anything to me is there. The columns are filled with what we know of life, love, and tradition. Without them it isn't Thanksgiving, or even home.

This touch football game started small. A few friends walked up to the park to throw the ball around on Thanksgiving morning. Fifty years later some remain, one has passed away, but their children and grandchildren have arrived to fill the ranks. Their names are with the game for time immemorial.

This last group at the bottom is the founder's circle: Pat Coughlin was my Dad. He lived a remarkable life as a contributor in many ways, it still surprises me that of all the places where his name endures, this Turkey Bowl trophy is the only place that truly makes a difference to us.

Each year, we welcome new additions. In these past two years, these gorgeous creatures have joined us, my incredible Sister-in-Law, Amy, and my Daughter. They became part of this clan within six weeks of one another.

We could hug all day and try to catch up, but we are all on the field for a reason. Although, some will argue we are there as much to catch up as for the game. At 10 am, there is a nod and call to the field and it's time.

When the fire whistle sounds, they shake hands and to passer's-by, maybe it looks like a rag tag generational pile-on wiping the Westchester mud from their brow. To us, this is three generations giving their own version of thanks. Do you see that little boy? We'll watch him grow, before we even know what happened he'll be there with a girl, then a baby. We'll talk about how fast it went, and be relieved that our Dad's will live on in him.

Love. We know a lot about it. I think you can sense that.

Committed and sure as the mail.

Van, our lifetime organizer, and preeminent original, was much younger than the others that first year and went on to be a real quarterback. But he is ours first and last. He continues to lead: Van commisioned my Dad's trophy and for the third year, bestowed the trophy on my Brother, Chris.

This is still hard.

That's all I can say about that.

We take a shot like this every year, at fifty years though, the picture takes on new meaning. I have to wonder if the founders ever considered that fifty years later they would still be there, with all of us. They were young, how could they know something in them was so powerful that it leads all these generations back and endures. There is no prodding; No reminders, no guilt, no one is put out. We know we are lucky to have been their children.

This shot would be on my Dad's wall: Two brothers of the original era, one long lost to Chicago, kneeling together on this field fifty years later. My eyes don't see any age on them at all, I think I get that from my Dad. I will take a lasting respect for the sportmanship and dedication of the Muller family to my grave, as my Dad did.

When you take the measure of who we are or what we have accomplished as a family, what we value most is in this one picture, above all else.

We are family. Thankful does not even begin to cover it.

Happy Thanksgiving.


EntertainingMom said...

What a wonderful post/tribute... Your photos brought a smile to my face!

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Great tradition - T-shirts and everything!

little augury said...

I love this post, in fact looked for it after your telling of the tradition. It is so wonderful that amidst all the chaos of everyone's lives you can all come together year after year-a truly amazing tradition. GT

ADG said...

Looks like great fun. Can LFG and I come next year?

The Blushing Hostess said...

All are welcome, ADG/ LA... you are tops on list for converts to this tradition... if we can choose our family in the blog game, you two are mine. Tiny feet and all...

Jessica said...

This is so wonderful really. Thank you for telling us about it. I always heard of people's families who do this but don't actually know any!

Hope you had a great day.