Today we had our first annual Fourth of July week family reunion. We've decided getting together at Christmas time is often too complicated with so many family connections that we will do ours in the summer. When I say family reunion, I mean my mom and dad, us siblings, our children, and a growing number of our children's children.
The reunion will alternate between here and Floyd, VA with us siblings taking turns being in charge. My brother Calvin just may be out of luck (or maybe he gets off scott free, depending on how you feel about it) since he lives in Indiana.
This time Mary and I were in charge so we decided to keep the meal simple. We did. Domino's simple!As I was loading up the stacks of pizza boxes (about a dozen in all) a gentleman walks in behind me and was watching. I told him I was feeling a hungry spree coming on.
After eating we sat around for a time of sharing and fellowship. I told them of the strange thing that happened to me the other evening. Our Sunday evening program guy had planned a service for the "over 50" crowd. They had invited Papa to come speak to the gathering. I was going to help sing in an over 50 group. On the way to church I was thinking to myself that I never would have dreamed that my dad and I would be having part in the SAME old people's service. I thought he was permanently older than me. Or maybe that I was permanently younger.
I said also that growing up we didn't necessarily have a flamboyant family life. Our idea of a nice family evening was all of us sitting around the living room reading books. One evening Robbie wondered if anyone would notice if he came out in his blue long johns to read his book.
At this point Mary stood up and said that we had calm family life until I got married. She told how when we were first married we lived right beside Papa and Mama and she would borrow lots of things off Mama. (we were poor as church mice and didn't have much) She said Mama was always so gracious and would loan her anything she wanted. Until one day she decided that I wasn't getting the brush and trees around our trailer cleaned up fast enough and she went up the hill and asked Mama if she could borrow the chain saw. Mama told her maybe she better wait until I get home.
I said I did sort of envy some of my cousins at times. Uncle Bud's family and Uncle Robert's family both had boys that were very close in age (I think it's Donnie and Joe that are actually the same age for about a week every year) and could have fair fights and such things. I was always in awe of how cousin Jerry knocked out his brother Howard once in a fight.
I was the oldest in our family and then sister Judy came along 3 years later. So my closest brother is Robbie, who is five years younger than me. Now I told them that I was scrawny but Robbie was scrawnier. If I tried to fight with him, I was just seen as an older bully picking on him, and that was no fun at all. If I made him mad all I had to do was hold him at arm's length and he could swing all he wanted to and never hit me. About here Robbie spoke up and said he learned that the way to do was to get in one punch and run.
We took turns going down thru the families. Nephew Steven said if anyone wonders why he is the way he is, that he had a very traumatic thing happen to him when he was growing up. How when he was young he had this habit of picking his nose. He had a substitute teacher one day (Aunt Mary) and Mary was reading them a story. He was peacefully sitting in his desk minding his own business (and picking his nose) when Mary stops right in the middle of her story and says, "And Steven, stop picking your nose!"
Afterwards Mary (who didn't remember the incident at all) asked Steven if he would forgive her. He said he would if she would help him pay his Faith Builders counseling bill.
There were more memories shared and quite a bit of singing by different groups. I closed it by saying how when I think of growing up in our family, the things I think about most are peace and security. We took it for granted back then, but I'm afraid the percentage of homes today that have the peace and security we enjoyed are by far in the minority. Thank you, Papa and Mama!
We finished the day off with a softball game. And was it ever hot. At least 90 degrees and humid. We had a 47 year age range; the youngest player being 10 and the oldest 57. My brother Steve and his wife Joan were on different teams. Our team made a play at second (Joan was covering second) and got Steve out. So before he trots back in they have a quick hug. "No hugging on the field!", somebody shouts. "Fifteen yard penalty!", yells my brother Robbie.
It did me good to see my younger brothers getting more tired out and red in the face than I was myself. We were going to play seven innings but along about the middle of the sixth Joan came over to me and said that Steve couldn't go anymore. So we decided to quit after we finished out the the sixth.
Our team was behind 24 to 22 but we had the last bat. We scored two runs to tie and someone else got on base. Then the 57 year old hit a scorching line drive double over the shortstop's head to score the winning run and the game was over. (we won't mention his name here in case he would get the big head)
All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a hot July Saturday. For all of you out there that are privileged, (as I am) to have family, be exceedingly grateful along with me.
There are multitudes out there who don't.