Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Family Tree

Sunday, June 25, most of the family members from my mother's side of the family gathered for a reunion. We have always been a close knit family that enjoys talking, telling stories, eating and, in general, catching up on each other's lives.

The picture above was taken in the early 50's before I was born. My mother is the young lady standing on the far right. Her parents, my grandparents, are seated in the middle. My grandma is on grandpa's left holding one of my cousins in her lap. My grandparents had eight children, four boys and four girls. Four of their children were left-handed and four were right-handed. Four had brown eyes and four had blue eyes. One child had scarlet fever as a baby which left her deaf. My mother was the youngest child born when my grandma was forty-one. Eleven of the people in this picture have died including both my grandparents. Eighteen grandchildren were born in the years following this picture. The youngest grandchild is my sister and she will be 41 this year.

This family is full of interesting people just as any family probably is. Grandpa's family came to the US in the form of a minister from Wales. Grandma's ancestors were plantation owners in Mississippi who migrated to Arkansas during the Civil War years. Most of my uncles were in some branch of the military. There is a liberal sprinkling of Methodist ministers in the family history and there have always been some outlaws.

Some of my fondest memories include playing with my cousins in Grandpa and Grandma's yard on summer evenings while the adults sat in lawn chairs under a large oak tree and shelled peas or snapped beans. My cousins and I would play hide 'n' seek, catch lightning bugs and put them in jars with holes punched in the lids or simply chase each other around. There were always reminders to watch out for snakes and sometimes an adult had to get up and settle a dispute among us.

Families change as years go by. We lose people we love dearly. We also gain new people as we get married and have children. Families give strength. Families offer support. Families are unconditional love. Families make memories.


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