My family reunion on my mother's side of the family is always epic. My mom is one of seven. All of her brothers and sisters, save for one, have children. Some of those children have children. And given that her mother is still alive, there are four generations represented. Once a year they congregate on a state park that rents cabins out and takes over most of the park for the weekend. Each year there are somewhere between 50 and 100 people present.
Hilarity the first.
Friday night is the first night. Families are still settling in and Grandma cooks a bit, fat pot of chili for dinner. Everyone stops by Grandma's cabin to get some chili. Most of Friday night is spent wandering around saying 'hi' to folks I haven't seen since last year.
This Friday night, I ended up hanging out at a fire circle with some of my first cousins. My sister and I are the oldest in our generation, but quite a few are now adults. One of my favorite cousins lit up a cigarette. I told him the story of how I may have COPD and that if I saw him light up that I was going to kick his ass. He lit up. I knocked the cigarette out of his mouth. He lit up again. I batted it down again. Then another cousin lit up. I batted the cherry off. Then other cousin lit up. I knocked that one to the ground as well.
That last cousin has only recently been discharged from the US armed forces. He decided that I had made my point and then some. He took me down.
Bourbon may have been involved.
Hilarity the second.
Saturday is the day of the big carry-in. Saturday every family brings a dish (or two) and we order a bunch of fried chicken. But Saturday starts off slow. Saturday morning, I woke up at 7 and went running around 8. On the way out I passed by a few family members. One car loaded with my uncle, his son-in-law, and their golf clubs was on its way out to hit the links. Another car had my brother-in-law and his camera on their way out to the beach to go birding. I made the 2.5 mile distance out to the front of the park and turned around. On the way back I saw someone running towards me way out in the distance.
"I wonder if that is someone from our family."
The distance closed some.
"I don't think I know her. None of the women of the family are shaped like that."
The distance closed some more.
"That sure is an ugly woman"
The distance closed even more.
"Oh, that's my Uncle Ed."
My Uncle Ed is a career firefighter. He, myself, and my cousin Abe are remarkably similar in our appearance. If you look at pictures of us at 5 years old, you can't tell the difference. The same at 10 years old. But, for most of his adult life, Uncle Ed has sported a shaved head or a flattop. This year, he had a mullet.
Hilarity the third.
Sunday night is usually family night. Each family generally eats dinner in its own cabin. For my family, that means my mom, my sister and her family, and me and my family. This year, my daughter brought her first real boyfriend. They wanted to cook lasagne for the family dinner. They did. (And it was good, but that's besides the point. I could really only offer to areas to improve. Use sausage instead of ground beef. Use real grated parmesan instead of that powdered crap.) Once it was dinner time, I went down to the cul-de-sac where most of my relatives had their cabins to collect all the strays in the immediate family.
Once there, I ran into my Aunt Barb. She's an amazing lady. She's on her second husband. The first died from leukemia. The second was very different from the first. But one thing the two shared was a very fine moustache.
And, as some here may realize, I've recently shaved off my beard and left the moustache. As a mustachioed man, I greeted my aunt. Her words to me:
"I've had a margarita. And let me tell you, you're looking mighty fine."
Hilarity the fourth.
Sunday morning, we drove down to Cincinnati to visit our old parish. The trip from Springfield to Cincy necessitate driving by the Pentecostal congregation that was once the site of Big Butter Jesus which famously burned down after being struck by lightning.
If the saga of Big Butter Jesus isn't funny enough all on its lonesome, it looks like they're going to build Him bigger, better, faster, stronger. There was a metal superstructure in place. All they need is the styrofoam and balsa wood.
Hilarity the fifth.
After dinner on Sunday, we played a few board games. A favorite in crowds of mixed ages is Apples to Apples. It was pretty fun.
During the game, my sister says to my daughter, "I can't get my son to stop rubbing your boyfriend's head."
Hilarity the sixth.
The drive back was uneventful. The following days at work and school were kind of scattered. Usually on the weekend we do housework including laundry and grocery shopping. Those things didn't get done. Mostly we ate fastfood or frozen dinners.
Then came Thursday and we went to the grocery store. We picked up some frozen ravioli and some pasta sauce to make something approaching a proper dinner. When we returned home, I realized that we had left my big pot at the cabin.
Oh, wait, that's the opposite of hilarious.
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