Reunions This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     On most American families’ “Things We Love Doing” lists, going to a family reunion is usually down around family car trips into the side of a tree. It is, however, on every list for the sole reason that if it weren’t, your parents would prove to you the phrase “I brought you into this world and I can take you right back out.”

I believe I speak for everyone when I say we went to family reunions because we knew that one day we’d decide our parents’ nursing home. In the back of our minds we’ve always known that really these reunions aren’t as bad as we make them out to be. They’re sometimes actually almost as amusing as watching the paint dry in your room. Over the past 17 years, I have been lucky enough to attend every family reunion my grandmother has been kind enough to host. This may be due to the fact that even when I put on what I would consider a Broadway performance of my body being too weak to so much as slurp down applesauce, my mom was able to find some way to transport my nearly lifeless body to the event. My mother, smart lady that she is, always knew somehow that I really wasn’t sick and assured me I’d learn to appreciate these things.

Now, I would consider mine a pretty average family - with cousins named Andromeda, Cada and Trinity. These brilliant names came from the mind of my uncle Paul, so I am not one to complain. My dad, always willing to lend a helping hand, has decided that Andromeda’s name is too long and calls her “A,” telling her that it’s much easier to say despite her objections. “A,” after finding her dad useless at getting her evil uncle to stop, generally runs to her mother insisting that the offender be told to stop the nonsense.

Jim, my dad’s brother, occasionally staggers his way up to this neck of the woods. All we know about him is he lives somewhere in Pennsylvania, or so we think. His kids live with his ex-wife and always come. When all of these characters gather for a day, well, let’s just say it’s not Disneyland, but the next best thing.

About the same time every year, my grandmother wakes up, looks outside and decides, “My, wouldn’t it be fun to have another reunion?” This may be because old people tend to forget things fairly quickly, including how badly last year’s gathering flopped. Or, being an optimistic person, she may figure, “It can only be better.” We’ll never know for sure, but a week later we end up together because we couldn’t come up with a good excuse to elude Grandma.

Once we’re all together, the first thing to take place is the crazy games Grandma has planned, which oddly resemble the ones she had the year before. For every game there is always a prize for the winner; there’s also always one awarded to whichever child can scream and complain the longest about how it’s not fair that they too didn’t get a prize. The prize has almost always gone to the previously mentioned “A.” Having perfected her vocal chords to a pitch that is nearly enough to shatter glass, I feel she is destined for a life in the opera house.

After the games the real fun begins. Everyone finds their way back to the house and memories are shared. Usually we can coax everyone to settle down before the memory stories are enough to drive anyone to the point of leaving, though some years - well, you win some, you lose some. Most years, though, everyone makes it until the cake is served.

After cake, people start to drift toward their cars. By now everyone has been there a couple of hours and are reminded just why we all live in separate houses. We all know, though, that deep down we had a good time, and like it or not, next year we will all get that call from Grandma: “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get everyone together for a day?”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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