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A Fall Gathering at the Cape

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Last week at this time I was setting out to Boston en route to JoAnn’s Fall Gathering in Cape Cod. She sets a wonderful atmosphere, and on the day of the party the whole universe conspired to grant a gorgeous sun-filled afternoon, with just enough chill in the air to make the hot cider and warm dishes all the more delectable. As I cradled a cup of steaming goodness in my hands, and pulled a bulky sweater tighter to my chest, I surveyed the beauty at hand.

JoAnn is the person who taught me how to cut and preserve the bittersweet vines. (The trick is to cut them when their berries have not yet opened; if you wait too long and they’ve already shown some orange, they will simply fall apart as soon as you bring them inside. Cutting them early enough keeps them intact.) She also forces forsythia in the early spring, so I have a pretty good gauge of the seasons based on what I find on her tables.

Having skipped a big fall get-together last year, this was a return to form, and she went all out to make sure the day was perfect – going so far as to hire her own private band for the festivities. Of course, it’s not just the decorations, food, and entertainment that make a party – but rather the guests, and in that respect we were rich and lucky in spirit and attendance.

Though I only get to see most of these folks once every two or three years (and usually at a JoAnn event) they still feel like a group of cherished family and friends (particularly with the advent of FaceBook). The Cape Crew has always proven itself worthy of soap opera dramatics, and getting to watch some of the events unfold from a safe and manageable distance makes this group such an engaging and compelling collection of personalities.

At its heart, though, it’s a group filled with love and passion. There may be fighting, there may be estrangements, and there may be anger and drama and bitterness from time to time, but it’s all done out of love. That’s what binds all of us together. No matter how much time has passed, no matter how far we may travel, and no matter what has come between us, there is always room for healing, hope for a new reunion. I live for those moments, when people are brought together and reminded of all the good times and happy occasions that have gone before.

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