16

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. […]

28

Class Reunion

Or, How Did We Get So Damned Old? So, I went to my high school reunion a couple of weeks ago. I never saw so many damned old people. Bald heads and bellies and wrinkles and old hair styles as far as the eye could see. I fit right in. One thing I noticed right away was the hotties back in high school are hot grammas, now. I see the gray hair. I see the wrinkles. But when I look at these ladies, I still them as seventeen years old! It was great to reconnect with old friends. Some of them I keep up with almost daily, via Facebook. But some I hadn’t seen for years and years. We picked up like we’d never been apart. I love that. I love them. Someone once told me that you don’t go to reunions for yourself. You go for the others. Someone there will be glad to see you; they’ll come up and tell you something about a time you shared, something you said that meant a lot to them through the years, they’ll want to apologize for something they said or did. I’m always glad I went, when I get home. One thing that struck me was the list of classmates who were gone. I came from a big school, and […]