Whenever seventeen people from one family gather together in one house, there are moments of pure hilarity and moments of pure insanity. There are fish hooks through fingers and card games. There are meals prepared and old roles slipped on with resentment and shed with confidence. There is sunscreen and too much alcohol. There are frayed marriages and those tempered by humor, bound. This year, the long table was laid out with old Christmas ornaments, and sisters were instructed to pick what you want to keep. Pink glittered balls with green felt tops stood in for -- what? My own pile was small by intent as I have no interest in holding on, in piling up, in stand-ins. It's no accident that I should be reading Madame Bovary, the story of disappointment. If there were a copy of Cheever lying about, it might be smoking, at the very least, smoldering. The children, year after year, ride in circles on the wide sand. Their legs grow longer, their eyes look sideways at the spectacle. They, too, are gathering and will sow, years later, perhaps squander, hold on, let go.