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The Father’s Day Picnic

The Hiatt Family Reunion, held in and around Norfolk for about forty-five years, was held every year on Father’s Day. Now everyone is gone. I miss the cousins, the laughter, the Double-KK chiggen, the illicit fireworks. The stories. The introductions. The mosquito bites. The old men playing horseshoes. The babies being changed on the tables in the back. The screams as a family that nobody expected rolled in from California or Texas or some other exotic locale. Nobody ever called ahead to clear the menu with anyone. Nobody ever said “I’m bringing Jell-O salad” or “I’m going to bring meat loaf” and yet we never had a year when all there was, was cole slaw or chicken or something like that. A Father’s Day Miracle! There was enough for all, and there was always a great variety. Lots of food, lots of drink. Lots of laughter. It Wasn’t Easy, To Begin It was an obligation, every year. Mom and Dad made me go. I hated getting ready, and until things really got popping, I hated being there. But then I hated to leave and I was always happy I went. One year, I took my new girlfriend, Doreen. She was nervous about “meeting the family” but seemed to relax and open up as she realized we were all just folks. […]