Families are like fudge . . .
Mostly sweet with a few nuts.
At least that's what it said on the invitation to our recent family reunion - but I'm sure "nuts" doesn't refer to me.
With the exception of time in the military and business school, my father has lived his entire life in the same small Kansas town. Three of his four siblings remained within twenty miles. For years, the entire clan got together one Sunday each month to celebrate that month's birthdays. It was a big group, at least from the perspective of a small child, and lots of food, noise and laughs. The location rotated so I'm sure it came to our place every few months, but my clearest memories are of being at my Aunts' houses. At Aunt Bernice's house we climbed the hay bales in the barn and swung from a rope. Aunt Pauline's was home to our only girl cousin, so that was a treat. At Aunt June's there was a nook in the upstairs hallway with a few toys and books. One book had blank spaces and you drew a word from slips of paper stored in an old kitchen match box to fill each blank and create a funny story (retro Mad Libs). Hours of entertainment for a young bookworm!
|Grandpa Ab and grandkids circa 1962 |
Twelve boys, my sister, Teri (front row) and me (in Grandpa's arms).
There would be two more granddaughters added in the next few years.
Between birthday celebrations and holidays, it was common to spend a Saturday evening with one branch of the family or another. These people were a huge part of my world as a child. Of course, as we got older, the gatherings became fewer and farther between. Eventually we only got together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, then even those traditions faded. When one of the aunts passed away a few years ago, the cousins gathered for her funeral and I realized how much I missed that connection, so the idea of a reunion was planted. It remained in the wondering and mulling stage until last summer when the cousins once again gathered for a funeral - this time for one of our own generation. That was the impetus to finally set the plan in motion and, in April, we gathered forty-four family members to share a good, old-fashioned Sunday dinner.
|Just as at those long-ago dinners, there was no shortage of|
good conversation and delicious food.
|My father (back row, left), his brother, brother-in-law and two surviving sisters.|
The Abram Clan
Those two ladies standing behind Dad are my sisters, Teri (in aqua shirt) and Debbie (in peach). I'm the one in olive green (5th from right in that same row).