Every family has its movers and shakers who make things happen. There are family historians, family connectors, family champions, and family achievers. Sometimes these roles shift as people age and the folks who used to be “the kids” grow up and take over the “grown-ups” roles.
The movers and shakers are many but this post is about the fantastic four who hosted a mini-family reunion picnic over Labor Day weekend. They are two aunts, my brother and my cousin. Each has unique skills and personalities that complement the other. They are also funny and could take their show on the road.
Sharon, the math whiz, is an organizer with style and flair. She designed the flyer, the name tags, etc. I believe she also helped create the family games. She is a hostess with the moistest.
Norma, the caterer/designer, makes the food happen. She can rock some soul food and some soulful food including delicious salads.
Glenn is the go-to guy. He is supremely dependable and conscientious. If you want something done you can count on him. And he is a bargain whisperer as I recounted in another blog post. He will get it for you cheap leaving no stone unturned to find a bargain. He is keeper of the budget.
Deborah is the MC and humorist. She will roast and toast you and, with her sister Sharon, puts together custom-tailored baskets filled with gifts and gags that reflect the personality of the recipient.
They pulled-off a lovely, fun-filled, noisy gathering that brought cousins by the dozens together, introducing new family members through birth and marriage, and reacquainting those of us who had lost touch.
Those of us who arrived at the appointed time (versus family time) collectively held our breaths for the first hour when it looked like it would only be a small turn-out. We were feeling bad about all the work the Fantastic Four had put together thinking it would just be for just for the smaller, descended-from-Gladys crew when a relative trickled in and after a few minutes we were deluged with relatives. A collective sigh of relief went out and it was on.
Food, family trivia (where all of us learned some things we didn’t know), group photos of the different generations and families all made it a wonderful event. Highlights included the man table, the bonding of Laden and Chris, the gurgles of the two babies, Paulette's handsome sons, and the laughter and play of the 10 and under set.
The only thing missing were the relatives who didn’t make it because of rain, other plans, self-estrangement, or illness. I also missed song. We never got around to asking my brother (whose voice is fa-bu-lous) to sing and none of us launched into song, something we usually do when we get together. Oh, well, there’s always next year - which will be bigger and deeper (it couldn't be better) with more hands on deck.
(A fabulous fifth is my sister, Nina, who hosted the immediate family at her home on Sunday. She frequently brings people together and having the smaller setting allowed me to really soak up the family love.)
I love my family – the siblings, the grands, the greats, the cousins, the sisters, the brothers, the mothers, the fathers and the original Pillow Family – Mother, Aunt Reen, Aunt Honey, Aunt Carrie, Uncle Thomas and Aunt Tuddah, the six siblings who live on in the faces, mannerisms, talents, love and faith of their descendants. We are family wherever we are even when we act like we're not.
(Shout-out to Calvin for making that 12 hours drive from Charlotte so that my daughter and grands could join us.)
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