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When my husband and I were first married and were so young and impressionable, we went to his aunt Maureen’s and his uncle, Meathead’s, every year on Christmas Eve. They lived on Fulton Street in Buffalo, and it was a modest gathering with modest food in a modest house, and I loved it. I loved it because the one thing it had that was not modest at all were the connections between the people who came and went. Folks arrived at the door, both unannounced and expected, and were welcomed like kings. They were offered a drink, some food, a seat, and all the time in the world. I learned from Maureen and Meathead what it is to have relationships. A parade of them passed through the kitchen on Fulton Street before my eyes. There were inside jokes and stories galore, like I never saw. They could go all night laughing about some crazy thing somebody did. It was foreign to me and I was spellbound. These folks cared for each other and you could tell!

Novelty that it was then, I see now it is how it should be for all of us. It is what we should deliver to our children as best we can, this understanding that we are all in this together and sharing time and concern with one another is the way to be.

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