“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
After much planning and many e-mails, phone calls, Facebook messages, help from family members and other things, our first true family reunion (that I remember, anyway) went off with pretty solid weather, great food and a lot of people this past weekend.
We had nearly 50 people show up in Oneonta’s Wilber Park for the event. The range of ages was amazing and having people from my mother’s and father’s sides of the family there was awesome. Nearly 50 people showed up for the event and I had the chance to meet relatives I had not met before, which is really wild.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day, either.
With rain in the forecast, originally, there was sun, good weather and a lot to do. We had good food, games and available things for kids to do. I’m not sure I could have asked for a better result.
Some things I learned, however. First, we ordered way too much chicken! With all the other food available, there was too much chicken. I’ll note that for next time. I also learned that there are so many stories to be told. I learned things about my father and that side of the family from different relatives. I learned about some family things from the opposite side, too.
At one point, I really let it soak in.
I was having my dinner, sitting across from my brother’s girlfriend’s son. As we chatted about normal things, I peered around and looked at everyone eating. I couldn’t help but smile.
I saw both sides of the family mingling.
Everyone seemed happy and joyous. Somewhere, I knew my dad (who would have loved this, by the way) was looking down and smiling. He would have been in his glory at an event like this.
It’s times like this when you have to appreciate family and know that those who have gone before us have paved the way for us. For many years, I always let work or other obligations get in the way of me going to certain family functions. An event like this made me realize that it’s time to make up that lost time.
I would call the event a success.
It seems like most people had fun and enjoyed the spot we were in. It was perfect. We had a pavilion, set up games, a playground was close for kids, the pool wasn’t too far away and there was hiking trails and other things to do. But, people seemed to be just as interested in chatting and getting together. We started at noon and ended a bit after 9 p.m. I left realizing that this is something I want to continue doing.
So, the planning is on for the next one. I haven’t decided if I will attempt to do it yearly or every two years. I am leaning toward yearly, but understand that not everyone will be able to make it each year. Still, time moves on and getting together once a year, in my mind, is highly worth the effort. I have ideas and I plan on working on them slowly.
For now? I’ll sit back and enjoy what we had this past weekend. Then, I’ll start looking toward the next one soon enough.
To all those family members who made the trip — thanks for coming! And I look forward to seeing you at the next one!
And, of course, would it be a family reunion without a fun video during the group shot?
“Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.” – Paul Pearshall
Photos from the reunion on my Flickr: Check out the set.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com.