Sunday, September 4, 2011
We took a mini-vacation on Saturday and drove down to Turner Falls for a family reunion. It had been way too many years since we had been together as a family. Ever since grandma, then grandpa died, we have all lived our separate lives in lots of states, staying connected through the grape vine and not always remembering or knowing what each other was going through.
Facebook changed all that. We, the "not so young but young enough to appreciate social networks" group began to friend each other online. We reminded each other of where we lived and what we did and how many kids we had and what had become of us. Invariably, we began to talk about old times--noisy dinners around little tables, drinking out of tall Tupperware glasses with spill-proof spouts on top, snitching bits of left-over dough cream pies, and playing kick the can out under the cherry tree. We remembered...and we decided we missed each other.
Then came a crisis. One of our cousins was diagnosed with ALS. His sister and his father started calling for a reunion. At times like this family needs family.
We agreed. So my cousin's sister Tonya, and my Uncle Dale began to look for a place that was centrally located, where we could rent a building for a couple of days and nights.
She found one in South Central Oklahoma, and when my uncle went up to investigate it, he was amazed to discover that it was owned by another branch of our family. The owner's great grandfather was our great grandfather's brother. How ironic is that?
So we all arrived, exclaiming at each old face and being introduced to the new ones...some of which looked just like the old ones, but from the past not the present. You get it.
There were old pictures there; some we had never seen, although we were in them. Others were pictures of our parents and aunts and uncles doing things like fishing and climbing trees back when they were humans instead of adults. They wore hats and funny shoes and chuckled as they told us why they were smiling and who it was who was holding their hand.
Cameras flashed, tired children napped, scanners and laptops hummed unceasingly copying old documents and pictures to share with everyone.
First cousins-once-removed discussed migraines and how to tell when they are coming so you can stop them before they slow you down.
I almost got a video of this group playing football in the house, but they must have seen an authority figure approaching and hidden the ball...or maybe they thought I was an authority figure. Rats. I keep forgetting how old I am.
There was an abundance of good food... and a constant chatter of background voices.
We decided that this is something we should do more often...in a couple of years for sure. No, we don't agree on everything. No we aren't a perfect family. But we still need each other and don't want to forget that.