|Banks County Opinions...||
July 11, 2001
By Jana Adams
The Banks County News
July 11, 2001
Family reunion time
Summertime is family reunion time, when families all across the county - and the country - gather together at church fellowship halls, civic centers, homes and parks for a meal and catch-up conversation.
Like "dinner on the grounds" or "fellowship and singing," the very words "family reunion" hold a sort of old-timey feel for me - linking back to days when any of the above would have been one of few social happenings for the people in a community, a real chance to get together.
Family reunion time, or on a small scale, family get-togethers, are a harkening back to older ways and other days, back to community and the traditions therein - or at least I suspect it seems so for many who have today's busy perspective of world access, electronic mail and crowded schedules. It's a time and a way that is shifting and changing, in danger of passing on as a generation does.
I went to a family reunion Sunday afternoon and was talking to a cousin about what will happen to family events - anybody's family - when the "older" generation passes on. For one thing, who will know all a family's stories, and for another, who will know how to cook like they do? Who knows how to make creamed corn like the kind you can still get at a family reunion, or the especially wonderful rolls, biscuits from scratch or homemade bread? And who has the time, or makes the time? We agreed, sadly, that family reunions reliant upon us for meals will probably be mostly take-out.
Maybe it is a good idea to write down recipes (and related stories), if you can get them - if they can be written down for those who aren't instinctive cooks, what with the pinches of this and bits of that - for days later on when we may find we want to slow down and try them out.
But the really important thing, I think, is whether or not the "younger" generation will make the time for family get-togethers, scheduling them in along with other time-consuming commitments. I noticed - and I include myself - that everyone was in a hurry to leave Sunday afternoon, with each having somewhere to be and something to do, a lot of things and places and people to cram into limited weekend time. Will we all be too busy to spend time together? Will we lose touch, will we lose track of each other, will we lose our roots?
But I listened as my cousin told us how her young sons like to hear stories about what she, and we, did when we were growing up. And I felt better as I listened some more to that same cousin, perhaps our family's tradition-keeper, and my sister plan a July birthday get-together for next Sunday afternoon, a chance for us to celebrate all the family's July birthdays at once. There was talk, too, of setting a date for the August-September birthdays' celebration.
So the cycle continues. We may make our family reunions in our own ways and in our own time, as we can. It may be a challenge, but I believe our close extended family will continue to make the effort, holding on to as many of our bits of tradition as possible, getting together when we have time - at least for a passing along of stories and updates about our lives and a piece of birthday cake, even if it's not from scratch.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.
Great Mike Schmidt
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