Northwoods Journal: July 15, 2022

Up north where summer is cool (except when it’s 100 degrees F.).

We are having a family reunion in, roughly, two weeks. This time we number around 45 individuals from the east coast, the west coast and in between. They are coming from Alaska, and Florida, from Washington, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina. By plane and by car. The meeting place is Hayward, WI and thankfully that is close to the middle, however it is also over two hours from the nearest airport. Everyone flying in has to shuttle, rent a car, or find someone to give a ride. Travel arrangements are getting wildly complex.

Family reunions are somewhat about food, since we all need to eat. But it’s not that simple. Everyone has favorite meals and food traditions that we like to recreate. Like most families, we love grilling outdoors, pizza, good coffee for breakfast and cinnamon rolls. We love popcorn and ice cream. We love a meal out at an interesting restaurant. We have kids who only eat one food. We have adults on special diets. Food arrangements are getting complex.

We love to sit around and talk, and for some of us that is the most physically active we can be. We have others who would add a silly game, a movie night, or a campfire to their talk environment. There are some of us who have to float the river for four hours or it’s not a real reunion. There are some who have to be on wheels, or boats doing something potentially dangerous. And all of us care about sharing worthwhile, memorable experiences with each other. And although I have never felt that boredom is a fatal condition, I would prefer that no one remember our time together as BORING. It’s getting complex.

The next couple of weeks this reunion is going to be on my mind pretty regularly. My four brothers and I, along with Mom, are the linch pins of the event and are talking, calling each other, and figuring out all these complexities. I appreciate how it draws us together, joining our particular skills, taxing our creativity. It’s work, but good work. It’s going to make some interesting journal entries and I hope I have time to write them.

I love that our complex family cares enough about these periodic reunions to consider planning, spending for them and coming to them. I know it probably will not always be possible. Our families are getting larger and developing groups within groups and that will change the when, the who and the where for our future get-togethers. That is okay, because no matter the size of the gathering, we are teaching the tradition to the next generation. We teach cooperation. We teach sacrifice. We teach commitment. We teach fun. We teach family.

All photos are from past reunions. This one in 2018.

Do you have family reunions? If so, do you look forward to them? Are there special traditions or ways of handling complex arrangements that you can share?

4 thoughts on “Northwoods Journal: July 15, 2022

  1. Great post again, Shirley. I hope your family gathering is superb. We are anticipating a family reunion in your neck of the woods this coming weekend! The “Tribe of Dan” is gathering at various relatives’ homes for the usual meals, snacks, campfire chats, family updates, family pictures, lots of wisdom and laughter shared, and of course the traditional Wiffle Ball game that gets even the Patriarch and Matriarch of the tribe involved.

  2. My hubbys family still has family reunions. We always called them family rebellions! With his family the people hosting provide the meat and be erages. Everyone else brings the sides and desserts and that seems to work well. There are usually games planned for the kiddos and adults if they want to play such as cribbage. I know one year the host rented a bouncy house for the kiddos and the adults played bingo.
    I always look forward to these. Sadly my side of the family no longer had family reunions.

    • Sounds like they were one day events? Some of our people come from so far away that they stay a week or more. Officially we do a long weekend for the majority of attendees, August 4th thru 8th. That’s a lot of meals.

  3. Great post, Shirley! So exciting that you all are doing yet another reunion!
    In the Floyd/Olive family, since the Covid fiasco, I think only 4 of the 7 of us sibs are still interested in reunions. This creeped up on us. Took me by surprise. But maybe the 4 of us will do another reunion before long.

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