Trina Machacek: Reunion-ing your family
I do not come from a family that had reunions. We were a small cluster of people who really didn’t step outside of our nuclear circle of parents and three children. I have always been in awe of huge families that had summer reunions at wonderful wooded places or beaches or be still my heart, Disneyland! Those reunions where family members traveled across the miles to hug and talk and eat and catch up on each other’s lives. We, of course, had our fair share of summer vacations, but it was with the same five of us year after year until it just fizzled out due to teenage years and parents who moved on to running away from the teenagers. Ha, ha. Can’t fault them at all. They more than deserved to have some parent time away as we deserved a little freedom too.
Those families that had reunions though. I saw them as lucky ducks. I’ve come to realize it’s a perception of hearts and flowers on my part. I tend to look at life and dream about how things seem through my rose-colored glasses. But! Yes, a family-sized “but.” But not all families can get together and talk and laugh and have a good time and never start to bite, scratch, hiss and moan among themselves. I do know a few happy families and I enjoy hearing about their family gatherings. But the real stories come from… Well, take for instance this one.
Not naming any names, but I heard of a family Thanksgiving that took place in a small eastern Nevada town. (That fact is important, and you will see why soon.) A fight ensued between a visiting husband and wife before dinner and the husband stormed out. Now, the family gathering was truly a loss and all should have ended there. But the matriarch tried to keep it together as she had a ton of food to serve and her refrigerator was not going to hold it all if the family did not eat. So she sent another couple out to retrieve the stormed out son-in-law. It wasn’t too hard to find Mr. Stormer as it was Thanksgiving and in the small town there was but a few places open and one was — well, remember it was a small Nevada town — and Mr. Stormer was found at a “Gentlemen’s Club.” Or as it was known, “Up on the line.” So, you see there are stories from calm families to those that are a bit more colorful.
Now, since families have become more mobile and moving from one end of the country to the other is more prevalent and easier today than it was, say even 50 years ago, huge family reunions are becoming a thing of the past because holidays are so wrought with busyness, bad roads, weather, holiday expenses and all. There has come to my attention an idea that I think is the coolest idea for a family reunion.
Summer is a more travel-friendly time. The Fourth of July is busy and to get a family together is fun but there is so much else happening that a relative of mine has come up with this. She thought maybe August would be better. Her family could travel cheaper and instead of being cooped up in the house during the gathering the warm temperatures could make it fun to sleep outside or picnic or do things where anyone who needed to escape would be able to do so without freezing or finding need to run away. Maybe to the local — well, see above!
Now, here’s the best part of her plan. Since this would be the gathering for the year for her family, she is planning on having all the holidays on display in her home. In one corner, she will have a Christmas tree and all that goes with that. She will decorate a spot for Easter, Halloween, New Year’s and, of course, the Fourth of July and any other times of the year that she will miss seeing her kids and grandkids and on and on. I think this is an amazing idea. Because everyone will be together at one time in one spot she is even going to have one night of a family birthday party celebrating everyone’s birthday at once with cake and trimmings. I think I will suggest they even play “Pin the Tail on the donkey.” Or a piñata. Oh, I could so get into this idea.
Maybe, just maybe, there will be no late-night hunts for your Mr. Stormer. Yes, it was a Thanksgiving to remember.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Find her on Facebook, Instagram or at email@example.com. Really!