At the very beginning of our 5 weeks vacationing out of our present home state of Texas, we had a family reunion. I am sure my family reunion is just like everyone else family reunion:
- There was the cousin recovering from cancer. (He had no hair, but his smile was still familiar.)
- There was the token cousin from each family of cousins who graduated from college. (Some families maybe have a higher concentration here. In our family, the farmers and assorted other blue collar workers outnumber the graduates. And, if you throw in Bachelor+ degrees, the numbers dwindle even more.)
- There was the beloved family who lost an adult son a few years ago. You know they hurt even still. There smiles, however, don’t give them away.
- The kids of cousins (are those second cousins?) who are way taller than they were when I saw them 5 years ago.
- The young cousin/2nd-cousin with a health condition. His health condition gives us a more accepting attitude of his behavior.
- A large sheet cake is brought out in celebration of a birthday, anniversary, or some other milestone of significance.
- The mix of German and other ethnic food for the potluck. Many of the dishes brought currently are usually much better for you, much more colorful, and capable of generating extending conversations about how it was made or what potluck it was taken to last OR how it resembles something that used to be a potluck staple.
- The cousin who runs his mouth without thinking hoping he doesn’t completely inhale his foot and develop a full gag reflex. (Me.)
After doing a little “visiting” with old friends at the church I grew up in, my family arrived late at the converted parsonage where the reunion was taking place. (It used to be for the pastor and family to live, but now it is just a place with LOTS of first floor rooms and a kitchen. It must be rent-able pretty inexpensively.) One of the first people I encountered was a cousin a couple of years older than me. We reminisced briefly. Did a little update, and got in line for “firsts” before the earlier diners got seconds.
I continued to wander from groups to individuals for the rest of the afternoon – attempting to avoid the least favorite (or attempting to have an excuse built in before the conversation started to virtually guarantee its brevity.) and orchestrating the conversations with others so I could enjoy their wit or possibly their sage-wisdom for the last time. I visited my father’s grave at the church cemetery and refrained from planking on his tombstone.
As the pictures (my branch of the family one for most in attendance) wound down and the farmers needed to get back for “milking”, the cars cleared from the parking lot. As I went into the house to gather our cooler and potluck item (Since we flew in, I think our dish may have been more like a “bag or two”.), I bumped into the cousin I chatted with earlier. This conversation went something like this….
Me: Everybody is leaving and we really didn’t get to talk that much.
Cousin: We did get to talk when you first came in.
Me: You talk so slow, we really didn’t get to say much.
Cousins wife: (Gives me dirty look.)
My wife: (Says some random thing to change the subject)
Me: Well, some things never change. My mouth is still trying to lead my brain.
Although there was nearly five weeks of traveling that followed this reunion, the next couple of days I was feeling the guilt. This cousin is so laid back, while I am the type of person who often finishes sentences for people and talks over them. I am barely house trained let alone capable of navigating the many pitfalls that occur every time I open my mouth. When the apple fell from the tree, I must have been crawling underneath it while a whole bushel fell on top of me.
So, if you were the cousin in this conversation (or one of the other cousins or friends or coworkers or people I entered into a discussion with while at an amusement park or while checking out at a grocery store), please accept my sincere apology.