The rugby reunion story

Today we got a Christmas card from the Rooney family. I must tell you what happened during our stay at their home.

When we made our Road Trip USA (one month, one mini-van, the whole country), we planned our route to include not only every major landmark in the country but every significant person in our lives.

Over the years I’ve tried to plan reunions of various kinds: family, high school friends, my bridal party. It never works. People are spread out hither and yon. It was either go to them individually or live on Christmas cards.

We went out a-visiting.

Among the stops were two of my husband’s college rugby foursome. One was in the Colorado mountains, and one — Rooney — was in Long Island, New York. I had never met and couldn’t find the third.

We drove to Long Island from my in-laws’ house in upstate New York and spent the night at the Rooneys’. It was great. Our children played together. We had barbecue and beer on the deck. In the morning we would linger over goodbyes and head for Uncle Jer’s in New Jersey.

The doorbell rang as we were getting coffee. It was the Sanchez family, just in from Colorado. Grampa had died, and they came for the funeral, figured to swing by and catch a visit with the Rooneys.

We pulled out two more coffee mugs and the doorbell rang again. It was the mysterious fourth family, down from Connecticut for a sister’s wedding, swinging by for a catch-up with the Rooneys.

All four of those rowdy boys were together by happenstance, eating bagels in the kitchen — seven children in the yard, four wives in the living room talking about births and hairstyles.

It had been 15 years since they’d all been together, and may be 15 over again. It may be never.

We’re back to living on Christmas cards, but now I believe in magic.

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