When contemplating a family reunion – even a small one – people rarely look like this:
. . . Unless they are screaming.
Sunday, my husband and I went to the small town of Westville, Oklahoma, to visit his family. My husband, Randy, is the “one who got away”. Every family has one of those. In my family, it is my brother Daniel. He lives 24 hours away in Brooklyn, NY. My other brother Dennis tried to get away, but he only got as far as Tulsa, a mere two hours’ drive. I got away to Florida for 9 years, decided that I couldn’t take the horrifying pollution, and moved back home to Arkansas. Living in Florida was like being trapped in an unventilated porta-potty. Lest any readers from Florida object, let me state that we lived in the center of a triangle formed by three paper mills. The pollution killed fish and grew eye-catching cysts on many of the natives.
But to get back to my husband, Randy is the only son in a family of 8 who moved away into another state. Not very far – only an hour away – but far enough. When we come to visit, the family ‘kills the fatted calf’ and we converge at his mother’s house for a meal. This visit included sandwiches for lunch and a grilled hamburgers for dinner.
This is my husband’s youngest brother, Karl:
Midday, somewhere after lunch and well before dinner, Karl asked my husband to accompany him back to his house to fetch the grill. Karl lives just down the road. They were gone for over two hours. No one was surprised. Sadly enough, neither was I. Karl is like his father. Karl’s father was a laid back country boy that could talk about fish, hunting, grass, walnuts, deer ticks – pretty much anything – for hours and hours with another country boy as long as they had a beer, iced tea, or a porch.
Meanwhile, everyone played volleyball.
Volleyball consisted of hitting the ball once, maybe twice, possibly hitting someone in the back of the head, before it was retrieved from the neighboring cow pasture . . .
There was much cheering, laughter, fun, and no one kept score. It would have been impossible. Occasionally, a child would stray into the melee, unconcerned . . .
. . . and play would stop, until the child wandered back out in search of something more interesting . . .
Then, after much calling, texting, and attempts at bribery, Karl finally returned home with his grill and my husband, and began dinner. He made the best hamburgers I’d had in a long time. Fire-seared, thick, and well-seasoned. Well-seasoned with Karl’s mysterious seasoning . . . something in a sprinkle jar that made my eyes swell shut sometime in the wee hours of the morning. I must have slept on my side all night since I woke up Monday with one side of my head bigger than the other. I looked like a sagging water balloon. But at least I was able to keep my eyes open for the visit.
Thank you, Margaret, everybody, for such a good time. That picture at the beginning of this post?
Those were smiles.
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