Once a year, usually on the hottest day of the year, my family joins for a family reunion to celebrate my Grandma's birthday. She is no longer with us yet we still maintain the date. It is the worst weather KY has to offer, always hot and humid. August is a time to go away from KY, maybe north to Chicago or Michigan. Instead, we have people from Florida, Illinois(Chicago) and Michigan make their way down to Hell's kitchen for a potluck and sweaty hugs. Sometimes you can also add Missouri and California to that list as well. Today was the day. The heat index was around 100 which makes it a perfect day for hugs (we are such a hugging family-even guests get hugged) . I am a huggy person and many times today I just stuck out my hand. Very out of character for me, but I was hot and sweaty and just done with the whole hug thing.
The kids had a great time, they always do. They played until they were ordered in for a "cool-down". Then we turned off the tube and sent them out again after there faces were no longer beet red. After all, porch sitting is the order of the day. You can cycle in and out of the air-but much porch sitting is required. It always starts off slow, but pretty soon the catching up and reminiscing starts and it is nice. I love my cousins, aunts, uncles. I am glad people keep showing up each year. Some years are bigger than others. Travel for some of those out-of-towners ceases to be a priority now that Ma has passed on. They now come every few years instead of every year, however, several of them have missed very few years if any. Some people have good excuses not to travel-like my cousin who is 8 months pregnant.
My Uncle Vern, now the most senior member of the family-that's him in the pic with Lilly and Bethany(notice how red their faces are!)-and my cousin Cheryl come from Mich. every year. Sometimes other members of the fam come along with them. My cousin Jerry makes it most every year from West Palm Beach. My cousin Cindy and her Mom and Dad(That's a pic of them) make it from McHenry, a suburb of Chicago. They have never missed. She usually brings her fella, Chuck as well but he had to work-we missed him! Others that attend are not as regular in attendance so it is a bonus year when even more make it in. I am so happy that we all still gather. My sisters and I really enjoy it. I wish I had taken more pictures. For some reason I only took 4. I'm blaming the heat.
Many many years ago, my Dad's third wife divorced him in a very hideously ugly divorce. Ugly even for divorce. It was a hard time. We all worried the reunion would be no more. Then we prayed every one would still come because Dad needed it. Everyone still came-but it was oh so forever changed. Barbara was such a gracious host-looked forward to the reunion. She planned, saved, cooked and made the reunion such a fantastic thing. The house was bursting with people, love, laughter and food. It is different without her. My Dad really tries to pull it off, but the rest of us really have to pitch in a whole lot and then we still only scratch the surface to what it was with Granny Barb. My dad very simply lacks hospitality. He does not know how to welcome even though in his heart I know he is so happy everyone still comes. He might appreciate the things Barbara did now that he has hosted alone for a while-but I don't think so. Plus, living alone all these years has made him really enjoy his solitude. My sister Linda and I noticed many times throughout the day that he seemed to be "done". The house was full of flies and kids running in and out. Annoying. The adults were running in and out to. 'Cause it was hotter than a $2 pistol.
I keep hinting as to how nice our May and Late September weather is. I don't think anyone is listening though. 100 degrees tends to make the brain shut down. So next Aug, we shall sweat again. And, thank God for family willing to travel to Hell's kitchen for hugs and a potluck.