Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Whole Fam Damily

I haven't posted in a while because I was away all weekend at a family reunion. Most people see family reunions as a kind of chore, but I actually enjoy them. I've always been big on family but that's probably because I come from a big family. My immediate family growing up wasn't big -- just me and my brother, but my extended family is HUGE!

My grandfather was one of 18 kids. Yes, I said 18!! All from the same mother and father. My grandfather was one of the older ones and I've heard stories that he used to get really pissed every time a new baby was born because that meant more work for him. Can you imagine fixing meals for 18 kids? I mean, by the time you finished breakfast for the last one, it would be time to start on lunch for the first one. It would be never ending. And laundry!! Every time I start to feel remotely sorry for myself I think "Well, at least I don't have to do my laundry in the creek, by hand." Can you imagine laundry for 18 people? My dad has said that when his grandmother died he thought she was ancient, but he later learned she was only 59. The woman probably died just so she could get some rest! I mean, seriously.

My dad is one of 7 kids. And they all had kids and they all had kids and so on and so on. This weekend was the reunion of the Smith* Seven (surname changed to protect the innocent). Usually we have it earlier in August and all my cousins come and its great fun. Over the years this reunion has taken on various iterations -- we've gathered at my uncle's property just over the line in Alabama,, everybody piled up in the trailer on the property or camped out on the many acres. Or a day of swimming at the small town country club in a neighboring town followed adjournment to a dinky little (but clean) motel down the road. For the last couple of years we've all gotten cabins in a small state park in my hometown. The cabins are really nice and there's a little beach for the young kids. Everybody who has one brings their boat or their pontoons and everybody takes turns cruising the lake.

(Please note that all of this is just my father's side of the family. My mother's side is not small, but it's kind of complicated and deserves a post of its own. Also note that I married a man with 5 siblings and my mother got remarried 10 years ago to a man with 7 kids himself. So, as you can, we've got LOTS of family).

This year was a little disappointing because many of my cousins from my generation were unable to come. Because we had the reunion later this year everybody had already started school and many kids already had "activities" that kept them from attending. These cousins and I grew up together, spending just about every Sunday afternoon at my grandparents dairy farm, roaming the woods, having hay fights in the hay barn, riding the dirt roads. Once we got a little older and people started going off to college we started losing track of each other and this reunion is a great way to catch up and reminisce at the same time.

The Smith* 18 reunion is held every October. I've always loved that reunion, too. There are very, very few of the original 18 siblings left now and every year the attendance keeps dropping and dropping. Two years ago my cousin and his wife, who had been in charge of planning and organizing the reunion for 10 years announced before lunch that they'd had enough. Well, they didn't put it quite that bluntly, but that was the gist of it. They made a "call" for someone in the younger generation to step up and take it on. And some sucker fell for it! Any guesses on who that sucker might be? I totally blame it on hormones. I mean, Punkin' was only about 6 weeks old and those hormones were still running rampant in my body, wreaking all kinds of havoc. I guess I was feeling some kind of familial fire and I wanted to keep the flame burning. So, last year was my first one and you know what? It wasn't hard. And by God this year I'm going to guilt trip every last person into attending that darn reunion. Now I totally get why my grandmother used to lay it on so thick!

And where are the pictures of these lovely events, one might wonder? Well, see, here's a confession. I'm a terrible picture taker. Actually, to clarify, the photos that I take are not in themselves terrible. It's just that I'm terrible about getting out the camera and actually taking a picture. I lugged the camera all over this past weekend and did one single photo get made? No. It did not.

One funny last note. Today when Mr. Daddy dropped Bubba off at school, as soon as the car door opened in the "Kiss and Ride Lane," Bubba started talking a mile a minute to his teacher, Ms. Anita. Mr. Daddy said,"He's a talker, isn't he?" Ms. Anita said "He sure is. There's another little boy in the class that's the same way. When we go out to the playground they just stand around talking to each other and I have to run them off and make them go play." For some reason, this image popped into my head. I can totally see Bubba and his little friend standing around like old men, discussing politics and the weather. Oh well, at least Bubba's found a friend. If only one would stop talking so the other could get a word in edgewise!

1 comment:

Lulu said...

I totally understand your commitment to the Family Reunion. Both of my parents have large families, and it's so much fun when we all come together. Luckily, we all live in pretty much the same area of GA, so we get together quite often.

Sounds like you have a great time at your reunions, and you volunteering to take over? Totally sounds like something that I would do.