Dear Editor: Starting in 1917, the descendants of Isaac Chandler of Banks County, Georgia, have held a reunion for family and friends each year on the first Sunday in August.
Since the old home place on Rt. 326 near Five Points in the Davids District was sold some years ago, the family tradition moved to a gathering site at the First Baptist Church in Commerce.
This year, the family will continue the tradition, but is switching to a virtual reunion instead of meeting as usual.
Only twice since 1917 has the reunion not been held, once due to the death of one of Isaac Chandler's sons a few days before the reunion date, and again once during the war years.
Because the tradition is so ingrained, everyone just knows to show up at noon on the first Sunday of August.
In the beginning, the reunion was a precursor to the church revival meetings for Black's Creek Baptist Church, and the revival attendees would come on Thursday and stay the weekend.
But as time went on, and it became harder for family living farther and farther away to get back home for such a long time, the format changed to a Sunday luncheon outside the old home place, with attendance averaging about 150 or so, from all over the south and other parts of the US.
After Isaac "Big Pa" Chandler and Olivia Nunn "Mammy" Chandler passed away, Curtis E. Chandler Sr. and wife Rachael Breedlove Chandler took on the responsibility of hosting the annual event.
Typically on Friday, preparations began and close kin started to arrive. Saturday was "all hands on deck," with the men choosing a worthy hog from Curtis' farm to kill and dress, cutting wood for the fire and digging the pit, which took most of Saturday afternoon and into the evening.
The pig roast began with building a fire and preparing the barbecue pit around 2 a.m. on Sunday, and each of the adult children took up their assignments. One pair manned the pig and the fire, another pair manned the preparation and cooking of the Brunswick Stew, and so on.
Nowadays, the duty of preparing the barbecue and stew and all the fixings has been passed on to the next generation.
In 1918, the Spanish Flu arrived in Georgia late in the year and so did not disrupt the plans.
But for this pandemic year, the family has decided to keep the tradition going with a Zoom meeting. Sadly, each family will have to take care of their own food this year.
The organizers expect all members of the family to try to talk at the same time as usual.
While the Chandler Family has a Facebook group site for the family, some cousins may not get the word in time to join the Zoom meeting and just show up like it has been done for the last 102 years.
Royal Oak, MD