I love it when people applaud when I walk into a room. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Of course, "brown stuff" makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy too and I think my audience already had plenty of it by the time I arrived. (After a few belts, I was caught up.)
Family reunions are great. It's all about recalling memories from the past and creating new ones. (A little Jack Daniels doesn't hurt. A lot can, however, and probably injured more than one this weekend.) The stories are old, tired, and known to all but they're all repeated anyway and everyone obliges with their roles: the storyteller, the subject that flushes with affected embarrassment, and laughter in all the right places.
That's my favorite part, the laughter, and we got plenty of if. I would call it good exercise but we definitely ate more than we laughed so I'm not sure it counts.
There were eleven of us - definitely not a family reunion world record. (I've been to another family's reunion where each branch of the family designed their own t-shirt that included names on the backside like a football jersey just so we could keep track of who was whom.) But, our small numbers are scattered to the four corners of the lower 48 so getting together can be logistically challenging. (Who's the geographer on staff at YAME? Ask so-and-so where the center is so we can meet there next time. Unless it's Kansas, in which case my vote is Hawaii.)
The elusive GRC was there although we've seen more of him lately than in years past. Even More Elusive BT was there which was very cool. AT, was there too, putting us all to shame in the pursuit of trivia. All the The Siblings made it which is a special treat because they have a certain language - like the secret language of twins - a vibe, a rhythm that's baffling, infectious, and a delight to be a part of. (The in-laws had their own secret language that roughly translated to "how do we escape?")
We managed to avoid charades this year, for the most part, which resulted in a sigh of relief from more than one family member. Although, when you think about it, the game is a lot like karaoke. No one really wants to do it but, in the end, everyone has a great time and the game usually results in the creation of more family memories. (No one can forget "Fargo, North Dakota.") Instead, we engaged in a rousing tournament of Mexican Dominoes. And by "rousing" I mean there was cheering, side betting, crowd waving, and a come from behind win by .... someone. (The "brown stuff" clouds my memory.)
There was rock stacking, the creation of cairns - art, if you will. (The problem with hanging out with artists is they feel compelled to create stuff all the time.) Ah, but what happens when the art, once created, is destroyed? Is it still art - as in, in the (mind's) eye of the beholder - or just a pile of raw material? I submit to you, it is still art even if known only by those who viewed it: its creator, the photographer, and the lady who walked down the beach with her little dog. Thankfully, there's a digital record and when I get around to it, I'll put some pictures here.
Thanks to MC and JT for putting this all together and for bringing all the linens. (Speaking of linens, GRC has his own special linen which will be part of all future reunions, I hope.) Thanks for herding all the cats, too, when it came to finding places to eat. We had some good food and some very impressive company. ("...my husband retired at 43, and did I mention that I look younger than people think?") And special thanks to JT for the pink flip flops!
And then there was The Grump, dapper in his smart shirts, suspenders, and hat. He's a really cool dude, if ever I saw one. Although, I did find all his work avoiding work rather confusing. It was effective, however, in that in working so hard he effectively avoided work. But you would never know it because it looked like he was working the whole time. A master, he is, to be sure.
We are on final approach to PDX so I have to sign off here. Great to see everyone! Can't wait to do it again sometime soon!