Saturday, June 19, 2004

6/19 Family Reunion

Up early to prepare for the family reunion. Jane made cole slaw and some other things. Me? I brought olives. Can't believe that's all I brought, I forgot all about making food when I got involved in the games.

Went to the Dollar Store looking for a few trinkets--extra decks of cards, water balloons, a whistle, etc.

Got to the park at 11, lunch was to be at 12. Our family is sponsoring this year so we arranged the tables, cleaned them, and put on tablecoths--secured with tape from the Dollar Store. It was really windy.

Car by car people arrived--what fun! I don't have too many aunts and uncles left so it's a real blessing to be around them. And my many wonderful cousins. Lots of people couldn't make it this time (only 2 of my 5 brothers), but there was still a big crowd.

We visited a little bit and gathered around for grace. I don't know why but I'm always the designated pray-er, and I always include prayers for those not with us, including those who have died. I always think of Mom and Dad, and my little sister Jill, gone so many years.

The the feasting began. The food was superb as usual, although much wasn't vegetarian friendly--German potato salad (with bacon) and a beautiful broccoli salad (with bacon). I still had plenty to eat. There was no bacon in the apple pie.

But the temp was really cool. People went home to change into jeans and jackets. Throughout the day it warmed up nicely especially if we sat in the sun.

After lunch we began the games. It was my turn to lead them. I decided to do non-traditional ones. Early that morning I'd prepared a written game on language. It said, "Think we speak the same language as our friends in the UK? Think again." Then I had a list of words from the UK that were different than what we called the same item. People had to fill in the US version of the UK word. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We gave out lots of prizes.

Then I led what my nephews call "Jer Games." I've never taken credit for designing these; they're ones I learned in CSz but they're called Jer Games anyway. My family is so strange. The boys always tease me unmercifully about these games but they love to play them. We played What Are You Doing and Story as elimination games. Last person standing won a prize. And I did two sessions of each--one for 12 and under, and one for teenagers and adults. Then we played Countdown just for fun and also a gibberish game. My nephews excel at improvisational comedy games. A few cousins shone as well.

After that we played some of the other games available--a beanbag game, a washer game, and a new one Zylo (Xylo?). There was a huge playground also, so everyone had something to do. Of course some people prefer to talk rather than play games. Go figure.

We then had the auction. Everybody brings items to be auctioned. Some are visible and some are wrapped. The items I brought from the UK, Denmark, France and Sweden were big hits. Everyone that brings an item and everyone that purchases an item gets their name put in for the drawing. The sponsoring family first takes out the money spent to buy the meat for the group and then gives the rest of the money away. It's so much fun. We draw names for $10 and after a while change to $5. The kids are especially excited when we get to this part of the day. I usually win money but didn't this time. Drat.

Then we had a big Euchre Tournament...24 people (12 teams). We drew names out of a hat to determine partners. My niece Kris and I didn't do well. Were probably in the bottom half, but we had a good time. Everyone put in a dollar and the winning team took the pot.

Many new additions to the gathering. Bob's daughter Karen married Matt (the third Matt in the family). They met in Africa serving in the Peace Corps. They're home for a few months and will then go to China to continue their Peace Corps work. A really nice couple. Bob flew to Africa for the wedding. Karen had warned him that the villagers would offer him goat's head to eat and that it was a real honor. If he refused to eat it, it would be the height of disrespect. Bob spent a few months before the wedding asking around about what it tasted like, was it gristly, etc. But he couldn't find anyone who'd ever eaten it. When he arrived in Africa he asked some Peace Corps volunteers about it, and they told him not to worry, he'd live through it, but whatever he did he couldn't refuse to eat it. Bob's a nice guy and wouldn't do anything to offend the people he was visiting in Africa. But he did worry about it.

The day came for the wedding. Karen and Matt were married in the desert. Bob escorted his daughter and they walked a long way to get to the ceremony--I think he said 1/2 mile or so, but by then I'd had a few beers so I can't be sure. The entire village turned out. Wish I'd been able to find out more about the ceremony, it sounds fascinating.

Oh--the goat's head. No such thing was served. Turned out to be a joke Karen played on her dad. Everyone was in on it. I can't wait to find out what Bob does to reciprocate. :)

Another new person was Tom's daughter Colleen's boyfriend John--a really nice guy. Quiet and probably a bit overwhelmed by the group. And Bill's son Andrew's girlfriend Ashley. Quiet and cute. Plus my great-nephew Blake is four months old, so this was his first reunion.

Everyone stayed until 8 PM and by then we'd run out of food. My b-i-l Tim asked if we wanted to stop by for dinner and he'd grill out. I said no thanks. I was already tired and had to get up at 4:30 tomorrow to catch the train. As Jane, Sarah, Jordan and I were driving to Jane's house, Tim called and said the brats were already on the grill and he was cooking a veggie burger for me. So we went over there after all and ate and watched Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. Lightweight but enjoyable.

Got to Jane's around 11. Packed for my trip home. Hugged and kissed everyone good-bye, since I wouldn't see them in the morning.

1 comment:

Jer said...

A friend commented that I can't say, "No one died," when we cooked the kids. Couldn't figure out what she meant until I re-read and saw that the "brats were already on the grill." Made me laugh. :) Jer