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The Family Reunion

Short story By: wlsc
Humor



Time Heals All Wounds, We Can Only Hope
Well, the invitations are now out; they look like a hospital menu. Mark - X - for your preference of location, food and games. Standard insurance waiver as always, included.


Submitted:Apr 8, 2011    Reads: 354    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Time Heals All Wounds, We Can Only Hope
Well, the invitations are now out; they look like a hospital menu. Mark - X - for your preference of location, food and games. Standard insurance waiver as always, included.
All families have traditions; gathering for holidays, handing down family recipes, family heirlooms, agreeing that it will not always be the first born that becomes heir to the aging pets of their aging parents (my son insisted on this).
Our family tradition has always been to hold onto grudges and preserve our territorial rights.
Our Great, Great, Great Grandparents left England because they were unable to find sufficient lands beyond one common postal/zip code.
The family has evolved, gaining experience and knowledge from previous reunions. We will never collectively travel on an airline together. You only did this once and learnt that it is truly not worth the discount on bulk purchase. Having recovered from the nine hour flight, your next destination is the beach for sand, sun and fun. Waikiki proved inadequate in size for our family. No matter how early you descended onto the beach, to pace off your section of sand, it was always too late.
We then decide to spend the afternoon at a market, where the local merchants recognize me from pictures they saw earlier from my Aunt Grace, a few commenting that she was right. I do need a holiday.
Camping at National Parks became a favorite for our family. The layout of the campground was large enough to activate various postal/zip codes, if identification became necessary. But the almighty skies told us different. Each and every time we descended on the camp grounds, unpacked, set up the tents, sleeping bags and set up the camp kitchen, it started to rain; not shower, but open bowling alley lanes of water. Noah called asking for directions. The rain would not stop until we posted the white flag of defeat and packed up all the 10 lb soaking wet sleeping bags and 200 pound canvas tents and departed. In hindsight the rain kept us isolated so the most we could complain about was the weather and our campsite neighbors, who seemed to be too tired to join us and were always turning off their kerosene lamps when they heard our footsteps. Grizzly and black bears; cougars and raccoons; leeches and water snakes. All natural to the landscape never ventured into our campground. They knew better. I'm sure like us, they sent out an information bulletin warning of the dangers. Now campers have it easy, they travel in camouflaged Hamlets, with collapsible bay-windows, and satellite dishes. I have always wanted to ask if their camouflaged rigs actually confuse the wildlife.
The Elders Circle at any reunion is sacred ground. It comes in many forms and only a chosen few are told of its location. It can be found in the cook kitchens of the campsite, in the restaurant of a hotel, or folding chairs surrounding a campfire. The rule of the circle is that children are not allowed. Our family has never supported the theory that children are to be seen and not heard; the elders want to hear them so they know where they're hiding. Our DNA has gifted us with bat-like sonar hearing, allowing Grandma to carry on the rumor that unlike Doberman Pinchers, they have never had to tape the children's ears. They flock to the circle in disguise, forgetting that the elders have heard all the tricks and excuses before and then leave on the promise that ice cream cones are coming. The elders, being the apostles of grudges have kept track of who is speaking to whom and why. They believe reunions are a chance to sort out the grudge book and of course assign the appropriate sentence to its newest members. You are wise to find out in advance, what table you should be sitting at or you will probably be written up.
At the end of the last reunion there were write-ups ranging from an innocent pot of chili, that was presented as prepared from an ancestral family recipe, to later being found out to have come from a restaurant; to an out of province family arriving early and parking their truck and trailer underneath the oak tree, taking the designated area for the elders circle. Of course they volunteered to move, but the Elders wouldn't hear of it.
Looking at my invitation I see that the family is calling for signed releases this year, after all you can never be sure what will happen. Last reunion Aunt Ruth was walking to the kitchen when she was hit in the head with a rogue horseshoe. Poor thing still suffers from migraines and will always blame her late husband Harley for intentionally throwing it at her. So, in the future all horseshoes will not be thrown above the knees. They are also confirming that field chalk is mandatory. This is so that your 200 foot territory can be identified and no one can cross over.
We will love and cherish each other to the ends of the earth and defend each other's right to be a little quirky.
As grandmother always said, you can't pick family.




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