Every couple of years, or sooner, my family holds a week-long reunion. My oldest brother, who lives in Mississippi, comes out to spend some time with his 6 younger siblings (of which I am the youngest) and we all make a big deal of it out here in California. He’s a cheery guy, can drink like a fish, and he knows a million jokes; you’d like him. He’s also pretty competitive when it comes to party games, and I’m pretty sure we’ve named the horseshoe tournament, the washers tournament, the cornhole tournament, and the fire pit after him. His name is Robert, for the record.
So when he comes out, it’s on. This weekend, it’s on.
I’m told he’s arriving on Friday, so the party begins tomorrow night. I’ll arrive on Sunday and be there until the following Saturday. This year we’re squeezing a wedding in, but more on that later.
The first reunion was in 1999 and I think all told we’ve had 11 or 12 of them since then. One year it was on a boat, down in Mexico, but I missed that one. Several years it was in Anderson or Cottonwood, where my second oldest brother owned property at the time. You’d like him, as well. His subtle wit is second to none and his heart is as big as a house. He has a cool red car, too.
Really, you’d like all the siblings. They’re damn amazing. Even if you don’t like me, you’d love them. Come sit by the fire this week, I’ll prove it.
This year we start in Hollister. My sister, the middle one, puts a fire pit in her front yard and we all pull up one by one, much to her suburban neighbors’ chagrin. They know what’s coming. Laughter until 2 or 3 in the morning, the sound of washers bouncing off game boards until midnight. A thousand empty Coors Light cans.
It’s not all bad; sometimes the neighbors will join us.
I say it starts in Hollister because, this year, we’re going to my brother’s new place near Lake Don Pedro a few days after. This is the youngest brother besides me. He used to beat me up when we were kids, a lot. You’d really like him. It’s his first house and I can’t wait to see it.
But we’ll only be there for a couple of days because, on Friday, we have a wedding in some place called “Oakley.” I told you I’d get back to that. My cousin, the son of our mother’s brother, is getting married at the end of the week. I’m his best man. Well, he’s better than me but I get to stand next to him while he makes his vows. You get the point.
Wait, do I have to make a speech?
Regardless, it has been 17 years since that first big reunion. Although the location seems to change, the turnout fluctuates, and – sometimes – we get into fist fights (I’ll explain that one another time), the one thing that never changes is this:
We always have the time of our lives, and can never wait to do it again.
I’m writing this while I’m doing laundry, ironing, and packing bags. In fact, I’m doing this instead of doing laundry, ironing, or packing bags, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. I had something to say. It’s reunion time again. I can’t wait to start. I’m going to get back to work, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with this:
That was 1999. The first reunion. It feels like yesterday and looks like a million years ago …
See you on Sunday, family of mine. ❤️