Reunion Season

Posted by on Jun 27, 2022 | Comments Off on Reunion Season

This seems to be the month for reunions. Families are ready to reunite after the relative (pun intended) isolation and quarantine of two pandemic summers. My husband’s cousins have held reunions in June for years. In fact, they call it their re-JUNE-ion.

This year my sisters and cousins are gathering with Grandma Alice in Tennessee. Six years ago we held “Alice’s TajMahallow Reunion” in some Smoky Mountain cabins near Gatlinburg. This year more than 20 are reuniting in the same cabins for the “Alice in Sugarland” Reunion. Six days of sun, fun and family. 

A family portrait session, karaoke night, Mexican food with pinata, and a guided scavenger hunt in Pigeon Forge are all on the agenda. And there are some surprises in store for those celebrating Father’s Day and birthdays. Several family members have made new relationship commitments (marriage, engagement, moving in together) in the interim and we plan to celebrate them with a big (ssh – it’s a surprise)  reception complete with cake, streamers, speeches and dancing. Do they still do the chicken dance at receptions? The two newest members of the family will also be there.  My son’s marriage came complete with a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren (ages 6 and 8) who will be entertaining us all!

And somewhere along the way we hope to have some hot tub soul searching sessions and campfire confidentials. But, knowing my family, it might take some planning to make these talks meaningful. 

Being the loving and giving Friday’s Child, I have always filled the role of peacemaker in my family. Not the “bouncer” type that breaks up fights (not needed) but the one who wants everyone to be at peace and spend time getting to know each other more deeply in order to appreciate our strengths, similarities and diversity. 

Some activities that I hope to do while we are there include:

  • Storytelling to share common memories. CLICK HERE for more
  • Flashmob singing some of Alice’s favorite hymns.
  • Alice’s genetic twin trivia contest, which consists of a list of genetic traits and scoring points based on how many you have in common with Alice. CLICK HERE for more
  • Speed catch-up-ing, i.e. speed-dating style rounding through tables to learn about your cousin’s favorite pizza topping or the last movie they hated. Set the timer and move to the next group or partner in 7 minutes. While normally used for team building at corporate events, I am hoping it provokes laughter and closeness as we spend time together. CLICK HERE for more

These examples are just a few ideas especially designed for large, geographically separated families who don’t gather regularly for Sunday dinners and holidays. 

On the sunny days, when it’s not too hot, we will enjoy some lawn games. Have you ever played musical hula-hoops? Just like musical chairs but outdoors where there’s lots of room to move and laugh. Of course there will be lots of impromptu cards and board games. We particularly enjoy Farkle! 

My mother – THE Alice of TajMahollow and Sugarland fame – will enjoy it immensely and we will take many pictures for her to put on Grandpad to share. The ensuing CoVid years have been filled with inevitable life events that include the deaths of two siblings, a brother-in-law and a dear friend which has her feeling her own mortality. In deference to a recently diagnosed bone spur on her foot she is using a cane but she’s determined to try and make it to everything she can. Well, except for the 2 mile scavenger hunt. And when she returns home she will have wonderful memories that don’t have to be packed away or put into a photo album.

When it’s time for your family to reunite, I hope you will also take with you the memories of time spent together and not trinkets or souvenirs. But if you know someone who does need to downsize those mementos from travel or family reunions… it’s your move and Golden Bridges can help!

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges