Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts.
~ Wayne H
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
~ Jane Howard (1935-1996) US journalist, writer
One Corpse Too Many
TODAY on DVD
TODAY on TV
ALL IN THE FAMILY
26 April 2004
If I thought that anybody in my family, other than Walt, the kids, and my mother, read this journal, I might not be writing this entry, but I know that nobody else has any interest at all, so Im just going to let it all hang out.
Ned was here today and we talked about an upcoming family reunion.
Now "family reunion" is really a misnomer in the case of this family. My idea of a "reunion" is something that is held infrequently and brings together people you havent seen in years.
Several years ago, we had a "reunion" and have had the same gathering almost every year since, so it has ceased being a "reunion" and is more of an annual event. But thats semantics.
Each gathering brings people from about five generations and we probably get between 50-70 who come over the course of the weekend. Its held at a campground in Marin County and some bring their RVs and camp for the weekend. Others (like us) come for the day, sit around talking and eating, play some games, and go home when the sun goes down.
The problem with this reunion/gathering is that there are about three people in the family for whom it is the focal point of their lives. They are planning the next reunion while were in the middle of the current one. And then letters go out 10 months ahead of time telling us of the details and trying to elicit peoples cooperation in doing various things, signing up for food, etc.
Who the hell can plan 10 months in advance what sort of food youre going to be in the mood to fix if you decide to go to the reunion almost a year later?
In fairness, the people who started this whole thing have been absolute marvels of organization and things ran like clockwork. Things did not always go like clockwork when they tired of it and turned it over to other people. But still, there is such an expectation about how wonderful it is all going to be an such an insistence on excitement for the whole year that I find that I really turn off completely and probably wouldnt even go if it werent that it was expected and my mother would be disappointed.
We didnt have a reunion last year. Everyone decided that they were "reunion-ed out" and so its been two years, which makes those for whom this is the central part of their life even more insistent that this be the gathering to end all gatherings. But this year is fraught with many, many negatives which are going to make it an interesting event.
First of all, the oldest aunt has died. She didnt make it to the last reunion, but I think she was still alive, at least. So there is no Aunt Marie. And then Aunt Barb is in an Alzheimers unit and obviously wont be able to attend. Her husband has also died, which leaves my mother as the only member of her generation to attend.
Moving into the next generation down, one cousin has cancer; another has severe respiratory problems and can barely breathe when she walks, so her health is iffy. One cousin has so angered his siblings that they are barely speaking to him. Another pair of siblings seem to be estranged and one of them never speaks to anybody at the reunion anyway, so its questionable why even bother coming.
Then in the next generation, there is a guy whose wife died suddenly a few months back. That was when we found out what a real louse he is (and hes one of the ones that I really enjoyed talking to). Hes taken work from another of the cousins and bilked the company out of money and attempted to sponge off several other members in the family.
And these are just the frictions that I know about.
Ned, who achieved great popularity by organizing games for the little kids, with Jeri and Toms help (its what they have been doing for years) was asked to commit to doing games again, when he wasnt even aware that we are having a reunion this year and hadnt been given time to decide if he was even able to attend.
In past years we have crowned someone in the family as the king or queen and in conjunction with that, I have put together a memory book each year to be presented at some point during the day to that year's honoree. Putting the book together is always such a challenge because I try to get cooperation from everyone in the family, all those people who want to honor the years honoree, but nobody ever has time to write me a couple of lines or send a picture or even talk with me on the telephone, so I end up tearing my hair out and putting the thing together behind cars the day of the event because its the first time anybody has any time for me.
This year there will be another "coronation" but nobody in charge has asked me to make a book, so I guess either that will be something they suddenly realize at the last minute, or Im just being left out of the loop entirely. Not sure how I feel about that. Its always like pulling teeth to get cooperation on this project, but still it is one thing that I do well and it would be nice if someone would at least tell me they have made other arrangements this year.
Always about this time of year, as the event is in sight, if not exactly imminent, I start having very negative feelings about it, wondering how I can graciously get out of going, and kicking myself because I have to be there. When the day actually comes, it all goes well and I enjoy myself and wonder what all of my bitching had been about.
Its obviously an event that comes with much approach/avoidance for me!!!
Weight Lost to date:
...who am I kidding?
I haven't weighed myself in a month...