The Carthage Press
by Antonio Prokup
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By Antonio Prokup
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Oct. 14, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Change, whether its accepted or not, will happen, much like the changing of Missouri seasons. However, even with changes there can be joyous occasions.
Yesterday, my family met at the home of my grandma and grandpa Adams. They have been gone for almost ten years, but last night I could feel their presence with us in their newly painted rooms of yellow. My mom had invited "the aunts" and some cousins over once more before the weather gets cold. She and her sister try to keep Grunda's house alive, but also have decided to be financially fugal and not run the heat in the house. So, early yesterday morning my sister, Dominica, ran down to the empty house and plugged in the lone space heater and cleaned up a bit. When everyone arrived at 6:00 in the evening, the house was warm and inviting.
Before entering the house, the gang sat on the leaf covered lawn in lawn chairs chatting and sharing stories. My mom and Dominica found another lover of sports and was coaching little cousin Emma on the correct way to throw a softball-not like a girl. I was sitting with Sparky watching the other cousins running and playing some sort of game, listening to the crunching of thousands of leaves that have already found their way to the ground. As the sun was setting and the air was cooler, someone said it was time to eat.
My family slowly made their way into Grunda's home entering from the front door. I always find this to be so odd since when my grandparents were alive, we never entered from the front. We would head down the sidewalk, round the back of the house, and climb the small porch steps to enter from the back. As we all gathered in the kitchen, our favorite hangout, the smell of chili floated through the rooms beckoning us to enjoy. The women were busily placing the food they brought on the counter, causing Grunda's kitchen counter to look like a colorful patchwork of food. At the end of the evening, the patchwork colors, as always, had disappeared.
For the majority of the evening, I sat in the living room listening to the many, many, conversations in the kitchen. One group would get louder in order to be heard, and so on, until someone would let out a loud whistle or whoop in hopes to gain some quiet and shortly thereafter the many conversations would grow in volume again. It has to be this way- it has always been this way. This has never changed.
When our stomachs were satisfied, temporarily that is, a game of cards commenced around the kitchen table. The few who were not playing cards found their way to the living room. Usually this is my clue to leave to find another isolated spot, but for some reason last night I remained. The other younger cousins had left to go to the Lenzini's, so I was left to enjoy the adult's activities. Amy, Geno and my mom decided to sit in the living room with me and talk. Every now and then I was asked to participate, which I graciously declined. However, once my mom and I got into a wrestling match on the floor, and this caused both of us to get the giggles. Even Geno and Amy couldn't stop laughing. The card players, now miraculously quiet, enjoyed the game of "Hand and Foot" with a homemade pocket shaped like a foot draped around their necks. To the outsider this could look odd and also hilarious, but the foot has a definite need in the game of "Hand And Foot." As I understand, each player has two groups of cards; one called the "hand" which is played first and one called the "foot" which is played after the completion of the "hand". In games past the "foot" would get lost and really disrupt the flow of the game only to be found under the leg of one of my aunts who had forgotten she placed it there for safe keeping-hence the need for the pocket foot in which to place the second group of cards. A change for the better!
As the evening came to a close, "the aunts" got one more cup of coffee, and something sweet to eat. Edythe Anne had made an apple cake from a recipe belonging to my great-great aunt Mary, the much loved woman who has been talked about fondly all of my years. Unfortunately, she passed away long before I was born. Aunt Mary has always been synonymous with the original homestead; the home in which many, many, of her nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews found heavenly refuge within its walls. "The aunts" had another sweet choice last night - pizzelles. After my mom, dad and sister cleaned out my dad's grandparent's basement, they found Noni's pizzelle press. Dominica and Mama made a batch yesterday in honor of Noni who had made so many during her life with us. Daddy talked about not only the hundreds of pizzelles Noni made for my parent's wedding 20 years ago, but also hundreds of zuccarinis.
As my family left, one by one, out the front door, not the back, I heard them thank my mom for inviting them and express what a good time it had been. Each of them, I'm sure, were thinking of the many changes our lives have seen through the last ten years. However, this particular change has not dampened our moods one bit as was evident with the high volume of food and conversation this now-empty house experienced last night. So, in my grunda and papa's house, whether you enter from the front or the back door, good memories will always be found happily, swirling around in the rooms of this very special home.

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