08 03 05 801 W - + 103 - 91 The Family Reunion

Last weekend, family reunion.  I keep... starting... to talk about it, then stopping, like I don't have the energy to cover anything.  Too many events, too much emotion.

"Let me essplain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up."

175 family members.  Oregon, California, Colorado, Jersey, Georgia, DC, North Carolina... You're getting the idea.  From everywhere.  A sea of little old ladies and strapping, swarthy 20-somethings.  Food.  Everywhere.  The whole gig was split into two days - Dinner friday night at the Pittsburgh Steakhouse.  Barbecue the next day at a park.  Lasted about 10 hours.  It was efficient, too.  Friday night was for finding the people you'd missed, the people you know.  Hadn't seen Dorien or Thalia in a year or two.  Small stuff.  I hadn't seen Fern or Jesse or Mike, Manny,  Mikey, or Anthony, in about 8 years.  Hadn't seen my cousin John (swarthiest geek you'll ever meet. 

The next day, barbecue.  A 2nd cousin once removed (I think) had put us all into a giant family tree, it was on a poster.  But she died a month ago, and nobody else knew how to use the mac she put it together on.  I told her brother I might be able to convert it to PC and complete it, and it was a longshot, but I could give it a shot.  An hour later my dad pulls me aside, tells me rumor has spread of "That young man on Penelope's side" who's going to convert, update, and post the family tree for everyone.  Apparently, "give it a crack" translates to "accepts this sacred task."

Heh, sounds like fun.

This is the part that's hard, the feeling.  I remember barhopping with the other 6 or 7 twenty-somethings, loud music blasting in the back of a dive somewhere in downtown pittsburgh.  Making loud, but barely audible conversation by yelling into the ear of this amazingly beautiful girl sitting next to me.  The context is funny.  We're trying to figure out how we're related.  A few drinks, a bajillion cigarettes, and a cab ride later, John, Dorien and I are sitting on a curb out in front of the hotel, talking.  Her mom and our dads are all siblings, and they all have stories about eachother, but not about themselves.  So we trade, and we laugh, and we share some sadder tales of family that isn't with us anymore.  Later it's just John and I, pounding menthols and catching up on the decade we missed.

I remember my cousin Thalia's year-old son running up and hugging my leg, with a giant grin on his face.  I remember Phillip's son Adam playing twenty questions, and making his sister laugh hysterically by saying "boobyjuice".  Jason's greatest quote of the evening, "Dude, I just talked to my dad.  Third cousins are cool."

I remember after the barbecue, dragging two benches out in front of the drop-off zone of the hotel.  At first it was just John and I, then Jason, then some aunts and great-aunts, and Manny and Mikey... At least 3, maybe 4 generations all told, about 12 of us, sitting on these benches on a saturday night well after midnight, telling stories, catching up, sharing.  Some of us are drinking Coronas, some are munching soy chips.  A few are smoking.

It's mostly just that I remember the feeling.  How the awkward tradition arose of naming your great-grandmother when you introduced yourself, so people could peice things together.  How, with utter confidence, you could walk up to a table of strangers and say "Hi, I don't know any of you."  The number of people who, unprompted, opened their doors to the hypothetical situation of me being around.  "Next time you're in LA..."  If you're ever in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, or North Carolina.  If you're ever in Pennsylvania or Colorado or Virgina or DC.  If you're ever lost, you have a couch, you have a home.

I remember the look on Dorien's face, on Thalia's face, on Terry's face, on Uncle Mikey's and Aunt Fern's and Great Aunt Marika's face when I first arrived at the hotel, or walked through the doors to the restaurant.  Love, written all over their faces.  Big, greek-style hugs.  It's weird, a little disconcerting to show up somewhere with so many people that love and miss me.  It's hard, part of me wants to shrink away from all the attention.  But that would mean ducking away from them.  And I missed them too, yaknow?  I loved them too.


Hey, this is Fork’s friend Emily.
I’ve got a bunch of family in Pittsburgh – how’d you enjoy it? Where was your reunion at? I’ve got more questions, but I’ll save them for later.
Emily () - 08 11 05 - 20:06

http://google.com Great summary, saved the site in interest to read more! 6)))
Anthony () (URL) - 02 15 13 - 05:29

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