Long time followers of my blog, and of course, family and close friends, know that our annual Morgan cousins reunion has become something we all look forward to each year. We were all close as kids. There were picnics at Pensacola Beach. Family dinners. The times we all gathered at Granny and Popa’s up in Alabama. The grown ups ate at the big table. The children were seated at another table in an adjoining room. One time I particularly remember, Aunt Ileen, Uncle Harding, and Pam and Kenny came to Pensacola, from Jacksonville. Every morning for almost a week, my mom, Aunt Ileen, and I would get up before dawn and drive over to Pensacola Beach to go crabbing in the surf. Every morning except one, we came home empty handed. Then there was that one day! The surf was up. My mom and Aunt Ileen had hand nets. Crabs were coming in with the waves in huge numbers!!! I remember it so well! My job, as a young child, was to collect the crabs in a big metal wash tub (remember those?) We had three or four hand nets. They would run to me with a net full of crabs, I would hand them an empty net and then take the net with the crabs and carefully untangle them from the net without getting bitten! I can still taste those crabs to this day!
But then time and circumstances drove us apart. I moved up North. The rest were scattered across Florida and Alabama. A few of them, I saw sporadically over the years. Most I did not. My father kept me posted on the comings and goings of their lives.
My father died in 2003. Funerals and weddings always draw relatives out of the woodwork! My cousin, Debbie, came up to me at the funeral to give me a hug and I had no idea who she was. Imagine my disbelieve when she said, “Sherry, I’m Debbie!”
So now we are within days of our 4th reunion. I’ve made lists, started gathering things to take. The small Alabama town where we gather, although it is just off the Interstate highway, doesn’t have very good restaurants. Last year I began bringing food and equipment to cook dinner in our own hotel rooms for those of use who arrive on Thursday. Everybody liked it and for sure, the food was better than the available restaurant fare. Then on Saturday morning we all head over to “the lake”. . . the land that has been in the Morgan family since it was deeded from the government back in the 1800’s. My grandparents raised their children there. Now the old house is long gone and it is just one great big woods. Back in the 1960’s my dad and his siblings built a lake, more like a mid-size pond from two natural springs.
Aunt Ileen will be there. She turns 90 this month and is still going strong. They still let her drive!!! And I'll bet you she could still chase crabs in the surf at the beach just like she did all those decades ago.
With all the craziness going on in the world today and all of life’s problems these few days a year make me understand what really matters in life. It isn’t, “Will we have to endure another 4 years of that idiot in the White House?” or “Will the economy ever get back on track?” No. That pales in comparison to the realization that we are lucky to be a family that has stood together through thick and thin and share a common bond.
I’ll see you real soon, Cousins!