Gilead and Stellar host a gathering during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, although I haven't attended for a few years. It's a low-key affair (especially this year, when most of the people there had colds). I think my favorite part is the mornings, which are like a scene from "The Big Chill." I'm usually the first one up. By the time I've made coffee and my breakfast, one or two more people have wandered sleepily into the kitchen. Morning beverages are consumed. The day's rambling conversation begins.
I remember social gatherings when I was young, where the kids went and played, and the grown-ups sat around and talked. I didn't understand the appeal then, but I do now. The mornings' activity is talking. People join and leave the conversation. We discuss all sorts of things, from the minutiae of our lives, to the sweeping Ills Of the World. We're all a fairly liberal crowd, so we don't end up in arguments about hot-button issues. We just talk, and it's a deeply satisfying way to spend time together.
I would probably join the annual gathering more often, except Gilead and Stellar live with eight cats. Even with allergy meds, my system has a hard time dealing with that. But an hour on the phone reminded me of how agreeable it is just to talk with someone who's known you for decades.
*I love the sound of that! Never mind that it's a simple 4-page story for Stumptown and Free Comic Book Day; it's our FIRST COMIC BOOK!