I was raised in a family that had frequent get-togethers and family reunions; in my younger days, it seemed like they were far too frequent.
Cliff's family, especially on his father's side, wasn't much for reunions. He says it's partly because of hard feelings and old grudges between so many of them. Whatever the reason, the Wood family just doesn't gather in large groups, except at funerals.
I don't have a lot of the social graces needed to host such a gathering, but for some reason in the spring of 2005 (I think it was our daughter's idea), I summoned up the nerve to consider holding a "Wood reunion" here at our place.
Cliff began to call cousins to see if they'd be interested in such an undertaking, and when he got hold of his cousin Ken, he was met with such enthusiasm that it gave me courage to go ahead with the plan. Ken volunteered to supply a whole roast hog for the event, to be held in July.
There were a lot of no-shows, some from people who didn't even live that far away; but we still ended up with a nice crowd.
(Click on the picture to see it larger)
I clipped Ken and his wife and little grandson out of the picture so you could get a good look at him.
That's him and Cliff visiting, before most of the folks showed up.
Kenneth smiled almost the whole time he was here, and more than anything else, that smile made me feel I hadn't wasted my time having the shindig.
There he is with that grandson again.
We rode our motorcycle down to Sedalia a couple of weeks ago to visit Ken; cancer had returned, and we knew he didn't have long to live. The same grandson who was constantly attached to him in 2005 was still at his side.
So, if you're thinking about having a reunion in a family where it has never been done, or if you think not enough people would attend to make it worthwhile, here's what I learned: If it makes just one person as happy as our reunion made Kenneth, it's worth the time and trouble.
I'm so glad we did it while he was around.