The Family Reunion

my familyMy family used to have reunions here in Tennessee. My mother is from a large family and every other year they came from all over the U.S. to get together. Now some people have told me that if their whole family ever got together, it would probably result in a fistfight as so many of them don’t get along. Sometimes grudges are so deep that people don’t even remember why they are feuding.

Our roots go back many years in history to the time when Tennessee was wilderness and not even a state. We all get along with each other, more or less – or at least the ones that don’t get along do not come to reunions. Relatives worry us because they know too much about us. The family knows all of our problems and mistakes.

There seem to be fewer and fewer of us at each reunion. The family tree gets more branches, but as the young twigs become limbs, they are less interested in sharing their acorns. Those that do come are a bit older and their hair a bit whiter each time. There are a few more wrinkles all around too, but other than that, everyone is pretty much the same. We just sit around visiting waiting for the kudzu to grow and cover us.

There are so many descendants in our family that it is probably just as well that they don’t all come as the hall would not hold us. We have a hard time even keeping track of living descendants at this point.

We used to meet in the park with our children and have games and things to do, but now the focus seems to be on food – lots of it. Once it was homemade chicken and dumplings, green beans, new potatoes, and coconut cream pie. Nowadays it is more likely to be Kentucky Fried Chicken and deli potato salad. Home cooking is going out of style and people to eat out more and cook less. I sure do miss banana pudding – but not enough to make one.

Reunions give us a chance to catch up on all the family gossip – who is divorced, who married, who died, who has a new baby, who is sick, and who is pregnant. We also get to talk about the people that didn’t show up and speculate on the real reason why.

Family genealogy has become a big thing lately. Somehow relatives are easier to deal with when they are dead and can’t embarrass us any more. Their misdeeds are merely colorful anecdotes from the past rather than skeletons in the closet. Our family has its share of eccentrics, just as most families probably do – whether we claim them or not.

Watch your purse, as our cousin is a kleptomaniac. Don’t mention the fact that one ancestor was illegitimate and some are alcoholics. Forget all the divorces, especially the recent ones. Sweep it all under the rug and pretend you don’t know. Years from now when our descendants are doing genealogy and there are enough years between now and then to keep association at a respectable distance, they will think of them as only another amusing tale.

Family reunions are tolerable. As far as I’m concerned, anything can be tolerated once every two years. I went mainly because my mother wanted me to, and my kids went because I wanted them to. Even though we groan about having to associate with family that was given to us rather than chosen, imagine how awful it would be to have no extended family. Be sure to take note of how relatives that are too involved with other activities or too important to bother with kin are usually the first to come forward and claim family members that become rich or famous.

All in all, nobody shot anybody else, nobody punched anyone else in the nose, nobody’s purse was stolen, nobody got food poisoning, and nobody became angry or left in tears. I suppose we could say that as family reunions go ours was always a big success.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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10 Responses to The Family Reunion

  1. On my mother’s side of the family, we have a reunion every year. I’m the hostess this year. Reunions can be a lot of work and stressful but I keep reminding myself that we have them for good reasons and they only last for a single weekend. I’m doing something that really takes some of the burdens off of me and some of the expense off of the attendees. We only have one meal planned together. Saturday night banquet. The rest of the weekend meals are the guests’ choice of local restaurants which there are about 30 within walking distance of the site hotel. Which is why I chose this particular location. Saturday night will last for about 4 hours and will take place inside of the hotel where most of us will stay. Like Val said people drift away after grandparents die. We’re fighting that battle but so far we still manage to have them every year with fairly good attendance. Great post and comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Val says:

    I remember family reunions from when I was a child but, as often happens, once the grandparents died, people mostly drifted away from each other. Nowadays I’m more likely to see my inlaws than my own family. I do stay in touch with mine, though. I think it’s important not to lose touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheila Moss says:

    Ha, sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. energywriter says:

    Great story and so true. Our family doesn’t have reunions any more. The cousins each have their own reunions. Next month I’ll be attending my ex-husband’s reunion. I can’t believe I’m still welcome there. But glad I am.


  5. chmjr2 says:

    “Somehow relatives are easier to deal with when they are dead and can’t embarrass us any more. Their misdeeds are merely colorful anecdotes from the past rather than skeletons in the closet.”

    I laughed and shook my head in agreement at the same time. Your statement is very true. As far as the reunions go, at least your family has them. My family shows no interest at all in doing this. Too bad as I would love to watch some of the interaction between them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sheila Moss says:

    LOL We usually don’t have to dig very far. I wish my family would do something like meet for a weekend and interact informally instead of trying to have one big food event where everyone eats and is ready to go home.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We have them every year and there seems to be some announcement. This year it’s not until September which is unusually late for us. More time to dig up some skeletons and scandals.

    Liked by 1 person

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