The following is a post from last year, but the reunion season can't be far away as evidenced this weekend by the spotting of a tee-shirt imprinted with a Tree of Life and the words "Suggs Family Reunion 2005" emblazoned on the chest. As the days heat up and summer approaches, the spectacle of family gatherings under picnic tables at the lake are not far away.
Why is it most family reunions in Texas must be in the middle of the furnace-blasting month of July or August? Is it some law that was carved in stone millenniums ago: "Thou Shalt Gather Together and Swelter"? I suppose the original theory must have been to include all the precious little rugrats during summer break, but the supreme foolhardiness of this seems to be lost on the minions.
Seems there is always an Aunt Zoetta attending who has the smartest, best-lookin' and most achieving children of the whole dang gene pool. Goes without saying that she is a bigwig on the PTA, listed as a must-have for every committee in the Womens Auxillary Club, and personally knows Laura Bush. If you are unfortunate enough to stand too long in her vicinity, you will be subjected to a barrage of pictures of Desiree in her Good Ship Lollipop costume, tapping her little heart away on a stage at Mayfest. She has a separate, cutesy little cloth covered album for each child. Try to avoid asking what is in the patriotic-looking album, the one with the red, white and blue ribbons. This album is reserved for The Perfect Son, Junior. Surely you know he was selected for Who Who's of the Presidential Council on Youth, and leads the Young Republican Party in Cowtown? The kid looks like a enrollee at the Lumpy Rutherford School for Overachievers. Oh, and the photo album with the pug puppies on it...don't even glance that way. Run like hell if it is within reach or else be prepared to ooh and ahh over four-legged children.
WARNING: DO NOT BRING VCR'S TO A REUNION WHICH INCLUDES RELATIVES OF THE ABOVE PERSUASION. BAN ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES OTHER THAN UNCLE EARL'S PACEMAKER.
And without fail there is the third cousin from Dallas who proudly bears the title of Miss Skin Tight Capris Pants. It is customary for these to be lime green with little pink flamingos on them, and a matching pink tube top. Miss Skin Tight obviously has the O'Hara gene, and goes straight for all the menfolk. I always insist on adding extra BBQ sauce to her brisket, which is guaranteed to leak through the cheap paper plates and onto the hideous pink birds on her britches. This woman put the H in Harlot, the W in Warpaint, and is on a first-name basis with her plastic surgeon. Add a pair of tacky Candie sandals with clear acrylic heels, and you have a Sight For Sore Eyes. Yep, this is the official description. If your eyes weren't sore before her entrance, just watch her prance for about 10 minutes. You'll be reaching for the Visine, or a really dark pair of sunglasses to cut the brassy glare off her Miss Clairol hair.
One of these years, I hope to be crowned the official Geneology Queen at my family reunion. I have worked hard on our ancestral tree. Dodging all those nuts ain't easy, it's downright detrimental to good mental health. Everyone wants to know if we are kin to anyone famous, and all I have been able to come up with is a very faint link to Jimmy Carter, which does not please Aunt Zoetta in the slightest.
Wanna know the one good thing about family reunions? I said the ONE good thing about these mandatory mass consumptions of deviled eggs and potato salad and the atrociously bad manners? Sprinkled in amongst all the craziness is the underlying pride of family, and enough genuine affection to bring you back next year.