My brother, Fran, is a mason. He is the best around so he works all the time, most holidays but not Labor Day. He had a good bit of our family at his place for a picnic, Francis style. His back porch is covered in leftover culture stone. A stone barbecue takes centerstage in his backyard. It’s topped with big pieces of slate. A large worktable constructed with metal scaffolding and thick wooden planks sits off to the side.
Fran wears Home Depot work gloves as he mans the grill. He soaks the corn, husks on, in a giant plastic tub, something you’d see at a work site. He gets his car from a farm down the road. It has been picked only hours ago. It is so moist and sweet it would a crime to put anything on it. He told us when he works late he just calls the farm stand and asks them to put a few ears in their mailbox so he could pick it up on his way home. Fran makes better ribs than any of the Barbecue joints.
My sister, Amy, made raspberry tarts like the ones my mom used to make. While we had those with ice cream my siblings shared stories of disjointed but moving conversations they’ve had with the residents at our mom’s place, the newest members of our extended family. Each tale more delightful than the next.