This past weekend I attended the annual family get together dubbed "Santa Filomena" or the Feast of St. Philomena. My wife's family on her mother's side has a large contingent here in North America. But they have kept their ties to the old world. They come from the Veneto region of Italy and consider home the little town of Faller. It is there every year that they celebrate the Feast of St. Philomena on August 11th.
The family in North America gathers together on a Sunday around that date. Everyone brings a dish or two, which includes lot's of good eats, including about a dozen versions of polenta. After too much eating and gabbing, the family arranges themselves in a mostly orderly fashion out on the driveway, and a photo is taken. That photo is emailed (of course back in the day it was mailed) to family in Faller.
Meanwhile the family in Faller gathers on the Feast of St. Philomena, eats and gabs much, and also takes a family photo, which is emailed to North America. Each photo is then run in the other's local paper - here in Michigan it is the Italian American Newspaper.
In the little church in Faller, there are plaques with the names of all family members from this tiny community - family in Italy, family in America and family elsewhere. In the age of the Internet, it is easier to keep track of each other and keep in contact too. But it still takes effort. The effort taken by my wife's family to not only keep in touch, but also to document the occasion, is laudable. Whether it is in our personal lives or our professional lives, communication - keeping in touch - is so very valuable.