It was the weekend for our big family reunion in Tennessee. My mother’s family and my aunts and uncles from around the country meet in a town so small that the population is probably doubled by our presence. I get lost every time I try to find it. Did you know there are still actually towns that do not have an Interstate?
Anyhow, we only got lost once when we turned at 2.5 miles like the GPS said instead of going to the next corner where there was a large sign saying to turn right. So much for getting directions.
All my kinfolks were there. I think I must be getting old as I actually enjoyed seeing them. I used to hate going to these things. Now it is the next generation that whines and refuses to come instead of mine.
All my children and grandchildren were there. We are almost a family reunion without any other relatives. It was the first time all my grandchildren have all been together that I can recall. I was in grandma heaven.
My parents don’t travel much any more, but they had driven down with my sister from St. Louis, so it was a rare opportunity for all of us to be together. My mother is always hyper when around her relatives and had just realized that I write. “Watch what you say or it will end up in one of her columns,” she told everyone. That was really conducive to conversation.
Actually, I don’t remember anyone saying much that was worthy of repeating. My cousin reminded me that when we were in high school, he had to do a book report on “Lord Jim”. He didn’t read the book, but I apparently did and told him what it was about. He got an A and “Well Done” written on his paper in red. Don’t tell anyone.
I didn’t remember that incident, but I did remember that I never could do math, especially word problems, and I always had to go to his house for help with homework. We both went to the same high school. He also had a little sports car that I thought was cool because it turned corners at high speed without leaning.
A different cousin mentioned that we only live 50 miles apart but see each other only at the family reunion. That’s true. If it were not for reunions I wonder if we would never see each other at all, or if we would make the effort to get together more often?
There was a good turnout this year, probably over a hundred people. My grandparents sure did their share to create a population explosion. Most of the people there I didn’t know. They were children or grandchildren of distant cousins. Sure makes you feel old. We started a new tradition this year, name tags.
The cousins of my generation remember when we were all little children and went to my grandparents’ house for the reunion. We slept on featherbeds or quilts on the floor and thought that was a great thing. There was also the proverbial outhouse, which we didn’t think was so great. Later my grandparents moved to a house with a real bathroom and an attic to sleep in with peeling wallpaper and a curtain on a string for a door.
Big Papa and Big Mama are long dead now and two of the older aunts are in nursing homes. We used to talk of not having a reunion any more due to age, medical conditions and distance, but the reunion just keeps on happening. I didn’t used to care one way or another, but the older I become, the more it seems to matter.
Like I said, I know I must be getting old when I start to actually enjoy seeing relatives.