Summer time and the living is easy for family reunions. Something about the warm, sunny days and less-structured time makes families want to gather together to renew old friendships, share memories and as we get older, get the facts straight about the family’s history.
We attended a reunion for my husband’s family last month, and had a wonderful time. Like many families, one of Larry’s cousins has the perfect venue for a party (a large pavilion with plenty of grass around it for children’s games.) And also, plenty of room to enjoy those wonderful dishes that no self-respecting picnic would be without – Rosa marina salad, fried chicken, salads, meatballs and yummy desserts.
The funny thing, though, is that everyone looked older -- including (gasp!) me -- which makes perfect sense, but it is still somewhat of a shock. It had been four years since the last reunion and I wasn't in attendance at the one. So it had been a while since I had seen some of these folks. In a few years time, our generation has turned into the family elders. Except for the gracious presence of Aunt Pat and Uncle Joe, we are it.
With that I think goes some responsibility, another good reason to attend these family functions whenever you get a chance. It’s good for our children, even if many of them were off doing other things that day, to know that the structure of the family depends on all of us and that it will someday fall to them.
Throughout the day, we reminisced about some of the relatives who died way too young and how things were back in those old days. Just like our own children today, it’s hard to image that our parents and aunts and uncles were ever young. There were old photos lying around to prove it, however, waiting for someone to help identify the subjects in the photos. (Note to self: Always, always, date and write IDs on back of photos. Always).
It’s a big chore to arrange these gatherings, and to those who do all the work for all of our families, please accept a huge thank you.
I hope you will make an effort to attend when your family schedules a reunion, and that you will enjoy your time sitting around a plate of chicken and ribs, talking. No matter what anyone says, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
Summertime, sweet summertime, and the time for family.
By Teresa K. Flatley