I’ve just come home from a big family reunion in Florida. It was actually my second reunion of the year, the first having been in Connecticut, a three-day extravaganza of my high school graduating class. Fortunately, that one was in October and I’ve had two months to recover from a great deal of laughter, dancing, and live rock n’roll, perhaps accompanied by a tiny bit of wine. I know what you’re thinking: two days should have been enough, but the passage of a few years has affected my bounce-back time.
The family reunion was almost eighteen months in the planning. Just our process of deciding on the time and place (through the use of survey monkey and death threats between certain siblings) has likely qualified us to negotiate between the United States and Syria. But consider this: we got one high school and three college students, one person highly-placed in major league baseball and additional lawyers, a couple of college administrators, one corporate executive, a business owner, an elementary school principal, a social worker, a civil engineer, one writer and a couple of other degenerates, five gol-den kids and a partridge in a pear tree all together on an island accessible only by ferry for five days. We traveled from all over the country. The weather was spectacular, beach-perfect. Dolphins played right in front of us and so did very, very happy little ones aged five and under. At night, our family singer/guitarists took requests while we grilled out; afterward we played Trivial Pursuit and no one pulled a weapon, not even during Risk. Mexican Train was downright tame. We all connected again.
Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to. Take, for example, the last time this family gathered. It was for my father-in-law’s memorial service after his very sudden death two years ago. I had shattered my kneecap and was in an ankle to thigh brace, which doesn’t exactly facilitate emergency airline travel. The biggest blizzard of the year hit the northeast, stranding family members variously and forcing the postponement of the service by a day—even devoted local friends couldn’t have gotten there when it was scheduled because the governor of Connecticut had banned driving for over twenty-four hours. And then the norovirus hit our family.
But this reunion? Well, it fell into the opposite category: sometimes just everything works out exactly the way you most hoped, and what stays with you is a heart full of gratitude.
May 2016 be good to you!