Familiar scene at family's annual reunion
Leada Gore, Editor
The scene was amazingly common. A group of people, some young, some old, sitting in lawn chairs under a covered patio. The overflow find shade under trees in the yard while, in the distance, a table is being laden with fried chicken, baked beans and miles of mouthwatering desserts.
Some of the people know each other well, while others sit with smiles on their faces as they try to figure out who is who. Others give up on that task, opting instead to talk to those they came with, the same people they see every day.
Welcome to the family reunion, y'all.
And although the scene described above came from my family reunion I attended last Saturday, I bet it's familiar to you, too. So familiar that you can pretty much write the same information about any of your reunions, too.
"You know," I told Greg as we rode to my mother's family reunion, "This reunion will look just like the one your mother had in Mississippi. You could just pick the whole thing up and move it there and, except for switching out the people, the atmosphere and the conversations would be exactly the same."
I had already reminded him of our long-standing practice we use at any gathering: If I don't introduce you to someone, it means I don't know their name.
He nodded. "I'm the transplant," he said. "I'm basically just there to smile and eat."
We arrived and I saw some familiar faces, some that I thought I recognized, and some that I swear were strangers who had wandered up just because they smelled the chicken. Because the family has grown so large, we were directed to sign in (we now list our e-mail addresses, something I'm sure our ancestors never imagined) and pick up our name tags. Each name tag contained a colored dot, indicating which family member you descended from. In my case, my red dot meant I was one of Louise's grandchildren, though I doubt anyone really remembered what colored dot went with which brother or sister.
And while my great-grandfather died decades ago and my great-grandmother died two years ago, our lineage is traced from them, too. In addition to my red dot and name, my tag contained the added line "great-granddaughter" proving that a family tree is a deep-rooted thing.
We sat around, talked to my brother and his wife and my sister – all of whom I talk to almost every day – and shared some hugs from people, all of whom felt compelled to tell me they hadn't seen me in so long and my, hadn't I grown.
I guess I have. I guess they had, too. We had a nice time at the reunion. Greg was a little lost, but it's amazing how far you can get with a smile on your face and a red dot on your name tag.