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Safe Port
by Janet Granger

My favorite trips were when
the family suited up and drove to my grandparents' house for Thanksgivings,
or birthdays,
or Passover.

If the season was right, I wore my favorite winter dress of
heavy black velvet,
meticulously adorned with ornate lace on the cuffs and collar,
and thoughtfully lined
with a soft, smooth black silk.
Each new version was stitched with love by Grandma and
engineered to last at least two seasons.

At their house, among the motley crew,
Grandfather tried to lead the festivities but was thwarted by the mutiny of his two sons,
who joked and sang and laughed throughout the evening.
Through them, we learned the enjoyment of tradition without regimentation.
So the end of each meal's chants or prayers soon gave way to harmonies of 'Coney Island Baby' or show tunes
of the previous decades.
The children, once excused from the table, scampered off to find
the Afikomen, or open new gifts, or watch the ball-game in the bedroom.

And as the evening wore on, the youngest sacked out somewhere (usually amidst the dark, warm furs in the bed of coats).
Brownies were lovingly packed into tins, bound for other homes.
Dishes were washed and dried and put away and
the party wound down.

Finally, there were yawns, hugs, kisses, and good-byes.
All stumbled to cars, sleepy and sated.
Fathers drove back home in the quiet dark silence of sleep and memories anew,
navigating their families among the stars of white and red lights,
back into the separate harbors of their lives.

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Document last modified on: 02/15/1997

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