Monday, September 17, 2007

The 1964 Family Reunion Tour

There is a tradition in many families around the country and I suppose around the world called the Family Reunion. This summer I have attended two one paternal, one maternal.

On Labor Day Saturday my father's clan gathered at my parent's home. The crowd was down this year over last but last year the gathering was also the day that that we buried my father's ashes, with a spectacle such as that you can usually draw a little bigger crowd and frankly, it's a little hard to top the next year, horseshoes and corn toss games tend to just not be the same.

My father was part of what is now known as a blended family, when my grandparents were wed I expect it was more a matter of you got 'em and I got 'em they'll just have to get used to it. My Grandma Bryant told me once that she worked hard at making the family one. “If one of them needed a whippin' I whipped them all just so they understood I wasn't playing favorites.” I don't know how true that was, but I can somehow see her doing it for a while so that everyone understood. The patriarch and matriarch of the Bryant Clan are both laid to rest now, as are a couple of the children and a couple of their grandchildren and yet, when they gather there is still a boat load of us.

I have a mind for memory of small details. This can be especially maddening at times, well, right now I can think of two times, one is when I forget something and the other is when my sister, Georgia, swears that I am making the stuff up. I'm a storyteller, but the things that I recall seem real enough to have actually happened or been and in many cases there are photos to back up my memory, it's just finding the picture in the right album to prove it. So it is with this in mind that I offer this yarn based on memories from a family reunion the summer of 1964.

My Grandma Bryant, my father's step mother, though he never called her that, was somewhat famous for her iced tea. I have to agree that it was better than most and it was produced under rigorous standards and quality control was closely overseen. At the 1964 reunion I was probably not quite four years old, but very nigh unto it, Grandma had made her renowned brew and it was served in a faded red, dented and chipped three gallon Thermos like container that had a silver spigot on the front of it that worked like a kitchen sink. For some reason, its construction and operation has stuck in my mind. I know the container was an item that was tossed when my grandmother broke up housekeeping when Grandpa died shortly after their fiftieth wedding anniversary, bear in mind each had been married before. As far as I'm concerned that container was worthy of a spot in the Smithsonian collection.

There were rides on a pony and more in my grandfather's goat drawn cart. I remember seeing it, but I don't recall a ride. There may have been a cut out of a green alligator holding a tape measure with a sign that read, “you must be this tall to ride this ride.” I'm sure that I would not have made it very far against the sign.

From this particular day there is a photo of my family taken by the side of the house. My little sister Georgia and I dressed in matching outfits and my mother in a checked sleeveless dress that in those days were called, “shifts”. We won't talk about her longest hair ever and her white cat glasses. My father slim and handsome in chinos and a white t shirt.

I remember other gatherings of the Bryant clan, but not quite as clearly. I know that there was always copious amounts of food, where I grew up I'm sure that someone would have said that it looked like a “thresher's dinner.” I'm sure that it did, my family for the most part was usually in farm country. I know that the meals have always been eaten in harmony.

The Bryant's still get together, at least the ones who live close enough. The general pace of life in our day and age has taken its toll on the gathering of extended family just as it has on everything else. But memories are gifts that aren't easily taken back. They can be stolen, usually age is the culprit, and yet there are times when age is the, “blesser” of memory. Things spark them and we are suddenly taken back to a certain time or place where we either revel or mourn or simply recall. Sometimes sweetened iced tea takes me back to my grandma's kitchen on, “tea day.”.

My maternal grandmother's family gathered this weekend in Brown County, Indiana. The Walkers. I said to my mother on the way home from the dinner and visit that I found it amusing to compare families. My father's people, German and Irish are storytellers, they laugh, they nudge one another and hug and celebrate with good food. It seems to me that the heritage of the Germans and Irish must have been constantly centered around food, well seasoned and joyously prepared. (The artist Gauguin, a French painter from the Post impressionist period said, “No mean woman can cook well, it takes a light heart and generous spirit.)

The Walkers are English and I noticed that they don't laugh as much and they are quieter. There were times when I expected someone to burst into tea, but we left before the appropriate hour for the English custom. My grandfather's people were Welsh and there are very few of them, too few to gather really, that event could be held at a 8 top table at Denny's..

I don't have the memories from the Walker Reunions that I do of the Bryant's and we attended one in June of 1964, the same year as the Bryant one that I have such vivid memories of. There is little told of the ancestors on the Walker side and yet there is a family historian. I think she would tell all if it were a small gathering, but in the larger one she asks a few questions as discussion starters. The families are just different and it is from the blending of our backgrounds that give us the material for the hearty blend that we are.

A customer in the shop one time looked at me with a rather puzzled look and said to me, “What is your European Heritage?” Frankly, I have never been asked that before, at least not in the way that he asked. I smiled and said, “I'm German, Irish and Welsh.” He shook his head and said, “and what does that make you?” I didn't have to think long before I said, “A mean drunk who knows how to dig coal.”

I'm glad that I have the best of all the family coursing through my veins, and frankly, I'm glad that I have their bad habits and all that makes them who they are, obviously, it makes me who I am too.

With that in mind, God Save my Nieces and Nephews.


Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, cheap jordans, uggs on sale, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, prada outlet, michael kors outlet, nike free, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, nike outlet, tiffany jewelry, tory burch outlet, chanel handbags, christian louboutin, michael kors, burberry factory outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp bags, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin, ralph lauren polo, uggs outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, replica watches, longchamp outlet, michael kors handbags, ralph lauren outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, louboutin uk, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, cheap oakley sunglasses

7:42 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lululemon outlet, ray ban uk, nike air max pas cher, abercrombie and fitch UK, kate spade outlet, hermes pas cher, coach outlet, north face pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, converse, nike air max uk, true religion outlet, north face uk, burberry pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, polo ralph lauren uk, hollister uk, nike roshe run pas cher, michael kors, nike free, lunette ray ban pas cher, timberland pas cher, mulberry uk, coach outlet, nike air max, lunette oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet online, polo lacoste pas cher, nike roshe uk, longchamp soldes, jordan pas cher, sac guess pas cher, michael kors uk, coach purses, nike air force, true religion jeans, abercrombie and fitch, true religion outlet, vans pas cher, longchamp pas cher, michael kors, new balance, nike free pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, nike tn pas cher, nike air max uk, true religion outlet, vanessa bruno pas cher

7:44 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

louboutin, iphone 6s cases, nfl jerseys, giuseppe zanotti, salvatore ferragamo, iphone 6s plus cases, north face outlet, nike trainers uk, timberland boots, s6 cases, instyler ionic styler, iphone cases, longchamp uk, nike air max, abercrombie and fitch, insanity workout, abercrombie, mcm handbags, herve leger, soccer jerseys, nike air huarache, mont blanc, vans outlet, valentino shoes, iphone 6 cases, hollister clothing, babyliss pro, iphone 6 plus cases, soccer shoes, oakley, reebok outlet, mac cosmetics, polo ralph lauren, new balance shoes, celine handbags, hermes handbags, softball bats, north face outlet, p90x workout, jimmy choo outlet, chi flat iron, beats by dre, lululemon outlet, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, ghd hair, asics running shoes, ipad cases, iphone 5s cases, nike roshe run

7:47 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

canada goose pas cher, canada goose jackets, lancel, replica watches, moncler jackets, moncler, converse shoes outlet, coach outlet, ray ban, pandora charms, montre pas cher, louis vuitton, supra shoes, sac louis vuitton, moncler outlet, ugg uk, bottes ugg pas cher, toms shoes, pandora jewelry, juicy couture outlet, wedding dresses uk, hollister, barbour, swarovski jewelry, louis vuitton uk, juicy couture outlet, moncler, moncler uk, vans scarpe, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, links of london uk, moncler, doke & gabbana, moncler, sac louis vuitton, nike air max, hollister, louis vuitton, swarovski uk, pandora uk, karen millen uk, canada goose jackets, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, barbour jackets uk, canada goose, canada goose uk, canada goose, pandora jewelry, converse, gucci

7:49 PM  
Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

adidas superstar trainers
oakley sunglasses wholesale
pandora jewelry
lebron james shoes 13
tiffany and co
nike air force 1 white
kd 8
ralph lauren polo
coach factory outlet online
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
air max
fitflop shoes
fitflop shoes
michael kors outlet
retro 11
cheap toms shoes
christian louboutin wedges
marc jacobs outlet
replica rolex watches
michael kors outlet clearance
oakley outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale
coach factory outlet
cheap jordans
coach outlet store
louis vuitton purses
louis vuitton handbags
polo ralph lauren
air jordan shoes
oakley vault
ralph lauren outlet
louboutin shoes
cheap oakleys
vans outlet
oakley sunglasses
oakley vault
nike air max uk
ray ban sunglasses

3:37 AM  
Blogger 柯云 said...

kobe shoes
adidas superstar shoes
asics running shoes
louis vuitton purses
ray bans
nike air force 1 shoes
tory burch flats
kate spade outlet
air jordan shoes
nike roshe run mens
lebron 11
kate spade outlet
louis vuitton outlet stores
air jordan 4
michael kors outlet
beats by dr dre
louis vuitton bags
true religion outlet
hollister shirts
louis vuitton outlet online
nike air huarache
louis vuitton purses
tory burch flats
jordan retro 11
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet
true religion outlet store
jordan shoes
louis vuitton outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
nike roshe run
gucci outlet online
louis vuitton
coach factory outlet
ralph lauren home
cheap ray ban sunglasses
louis vuitton handbags
ralph lauren
cheap toms shoes

2:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home