What is your favorite Christmas / holiday sound?
Raised glasses clink against each other accompanied by exultant declarations. “To us! To the future. To everything!” The details of the conversation don’t matter. The ebb and flow of voices soft when serious, louder when silly, crashing down like thunder with the group breaking into laughter, and finally tapering off again into stray titters, tells the story without us understanding the words.
We know that the people at this table share a common vocabulary, a common frame of reference, but are also just different enough to add their own spin, so that, like a good stew with its spices, vegetables, meat and broth, there is a melding of thoughts, ideas, opinions, observations.
Sometimes the topic is a weighty: someone has died, gotten sick, lost a job, lost a spouse. Other times, serious, but joyful: a birth, a marriage, a new home. Laughter prevails, the teasing laughter of a good joke, the embarrassed laughter as wilder moments are recalled, the softer laughter reflecting the blush of new love, the baudy sort when risque subjects are touched upon. But always laughter is an important element here, more than a grace note, less than the whole piece.
Friends, family. At the regular table the details of the relationships are not important. The laughter is.