So my mama's family has this thing, whenever mother visits daughter or daughter visits mother, they bring out the pictures. The rectangle Wal-Mart packages with the film strips separated from the photos, two copies of each picture, or the scrapbooks with the plain colors, thin gold borders with no fancy trimmings inside and not all those stickers and captions cause you explain the pictures yourself and there's no need for them.
They lean in close to catch the details and lift eye-glasses from noses and say how they can't see Steven's face so well in this one and how Morgan just looks like her mama and when they see a picture of Joseph they just can't stop talking about how tall he is. Then they go on to recount all the others they know who are so tall and where could Joseph possibly have gotten it from?
Sometimes Grandma brings out old ones, and they all want to know who is in them.Grandma calls my grandpa Daddy. Always calls him that. But sometimes you hear "Jerry" and it rings, old with years and golden with love, like a first love, the brand new kind that you get at the beginning and keep it always. And you can hear that he's gone in the way she says it. You know how people say it like that? Their name when they're not here anymore? How it's sort of lost and floating cause there's no body to catch it any more, just a memory in the back of our heads.
And the stacks of glossy colors get passed along, from one hand to the other, around a table or across the living room and more glasses are lifted off noses because you can see better up close without glasses. That's mama's family. All with glasses.
And my uncles sit close by, reclining in chairs around a football game on TV, Huskers. Nebraska. Cause when we all come together its usually around that time.
Usually there are Land of Lakes ice cream gallon buckets sitting around on counters, filled with Grandma's fudge and chocolate chip cookies, in between each layer a sheet of wax paper all neat.
My aunts, the sisters, you can tell they're sisters by how they laugh the same. How they sound together when they laugh. How Aunt Connie points, commenting on a picture, just like Grandma does, with hands like Grandma has. And I wonder why she says they're not beautiful? Hands are never not beautiful. Hands, they have a story all their own.