I called my cousins in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon. You guys still coming up on Thursday? Yep. "I'll be there sometime middle of the afternoon," I told them.
This will be the third year my cousins and I have gotten together on the old Morgan homestead (Morgan is my maiden name). This is land that has been in my dad's family since it was deeded from the government "way back there."
To be honest, I look forward to this time every year much more than I would a luxury vacation at an elegant resort. Why?
Well, there are a lot of reasons. As kids, all of us roamed this land at least a couple of times a year. We'd go to the rural south Alabama town where my grandparents lived and end up spending a day over at the farm, which is what we called it back then. My grandparents raised their four children there. Popa was a prosperous cotton farmer back before us cousins were born, until one Sunday they came home from church in their horse and buggy and their home had burned to the ground. Back in those days, following the Great Depression, my grandparents didn't believe in banks. Every dime they had was stored in that house.
I was close to my cousins back in my growing up years - Bruce, Debbie, Paul (before he died tragically in 1961), Richard, Pam, Kenny, Rita, June, Gwen. There were the Thanksgiving dinners at Aunt Dot and Uncle Millard's. The adults ate at the big table and us kids were sent to a smaller table in the next room. We would fight over who got the drumsticks or the wishbone! I remember the year Kennedy was assassinated. That year we ate Thanksgiving dinner glued to the black and white TV to hear the latest on that unfolding story.
Then I got married and in 1974 moved to New York State. I was many miles removed from my Southern cousins, busy raising my two sons. I didn't get back down South too often.
In 2003, my father died unexpectedly. At his funeral, I saw many of my cousins again for the first time in over 30 years. I remember Debbie coming up to me at the funeral and giving me a hug, and I had no idea who she was. Then there was Kenny. The last time I saw him was on my wedding day and he was a skinny, shy kid of 16. Imagine my disbelief at seeing him again as a gray haired man!
This was not good. Yes, I was busy with my own life, but you don't just forget about your roots, even though time and distance separates you.
In 2009, I asked everyone what they would think about getting together for a day over at the "farm" for a small reunion. It took off from there. We all meet at the property on Saturday morning. Some of us, who are into guns, do some target shooting and show off our toys to each other. We have a pot roast meal that I cook in my camp dutch oven and just spend time together. At the end of a long day, Rita invites us over to her in-laws' vacation home on a huge river. It is just a fun time together and something we all look forward to now.
So, in the coming weeks, I'll be posting about the Big Reunion again, complete with pictures. . . still have to figure out how to do pictures on my new Mac!
I would encourage each of you to stay in touch with your relatives. It is easy to lose touch with this crazy, busy world we all live in now. But just do it.
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