Last summer I read an interesting book

“The Art of Gathering”

By Priya Parker.

Reading it has made me think

About the kinds of gatherings I host.

I have always loved the idea

Of bringing people together.

And I like to “decorate”

For the occassion.

But this book has me thinking

More about what happens

Once we are gathered.

Last weekend is a good example.

I hosted a sort of birthday lunch.

It would have been my friend’s 70th birthday.

Had she lived to see the day.

Instead, her three daughters came

Along with some of her friends

From decades ago.

We sat around my dining room table

Telling stories of her life.

It wasn’t a gathering to “catch up”.

In true Priya fashion.

I even sent a text to that effect

Before we gathered.

Telling my guests it was not a day

To talk about grandchildren

But rather a day to share our stories and memories

So that her grandchildren could know her

A little better.

We laughed.

We cried.

We re-connected.

Memories buryied deeply

Began to surface.

Bringing more laughter

And tears.

Stories have the power

To bring us back to a different time

And place.

The power to learn new things

And answer questions

We didn’t even know we had.

The power to reunite with someone

We have lost

Or get to know someone

We never knew.

I hope as you gather

Around your holiday tables.

You will set aside the news of the day

And the game

And ask questions

That draw out stories

Of the lifetimes

You have gathered together.


“Share your story with someone. You never know how one sentence of your life story could inspire someone to rewrite their own.”

Demi Lovato

P.S. Think about recording interviews of your families and submitting them to The Great Thanksgiving Listen at With permission, interviews become part of the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. More than 650,000 people have participated in StoryCorps to date, making it the largest single collection of voices ever gathered.

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