That could be what one of my earrings said to the other, if earrings talked. Yesterday at the reunion a sweet cousin pointed out that I only had on one earring. Knowing I put both on before leaving the house I was concerned because this was a pair I had worn for many years and they are a high particular for me. What’s a girl to do? I immediately raised my voice and called, “Emergency, emergency!” That got everyone’s attention and then I laid it on them. “I’ve lost my earring,” I said, “and unless we find it I’m going to start singing.” You should have seen the scrambling to find the earring! They are my cousins and they know me, they know that just because I can’t sing doesn’t mean I won’t sing. So it was no idle threat. But no one found the earring. Imagine my surprise when I was telling my husband the story and he told me to look on the bathroom floor, he had seen something gold there. Obviously, as you can see in the picture, I now have both earrings again.
Were you at the reunion yesterday? If not, why not?
Laurence Overmire said this: “Over the course of the millennia, all these multitudes of ancestors, generation upon generation, have come down to this moment in time – to give birth to you. There has never been, nor, will ever be another like you. What will you do with your time on the Earth? How will you contribute to the ongoing story of humankind?”
Why do we like to “gather the clan?” What is it about getting the people together who have a common ancestry that makes us travel long distances to be part of it? It is true we are a good-looking lot, but I don’t believe my cousins from Canada would travel this far just to get a look. It is true we are amusing, but I do not believe my cousins came all the way from California to be amused by our silliness. We have wonderful food here in the South, but I still do not believe my cousins travel great distances for a barbecue sandwich. Yes, it is fun to bid on the items in the silent auction but does anyone come to the reunion to buy something one of the others of us want to get rid of? What, then, propels us to gather?
Believe it or not, the younger generation wants to hear stories of the older generations. They want to know that Grandpa fought in the War Between the States, they want to see the amnesty he signed after his side lost. Old and young like to see pictures from “back when” and some are always amazed to find out “why I like German potato salad.” Or another be amazed that there is a story of a long ago blacksmith when the young man in his twenties thinks he is the only blacksmith the family has ever had. Where else can these young folks hear the story of the grandmother who held a gun on a bad man until he left her and her ill husband alone? No one else will tell them of the Southern belle grandmother who taught her daughters to stand a moment and converse with a gentleman who offers you his chair, ‘For if you sit while it is still warm from his body he’ll know you are no lady,” she would admonish.
Outsiders may wonder just what a Southern reunion looks like, and I’m sure many have a snarky opinion of us and think we are “just a bunch of rednecks” gathering, possibly looking for a date (yes, we have heard your stories of us) using our backwoods talk of one syllable words to convey our racist propaganda and spewing hatred for people who are not like us. You might be surprised to learn that our reunion looks similar to a United Nations meeting with various shades of skin color scattered throughout, but oh-my-gosh we are so much more. Did you know that the Smiths have been Smiths through antiquity in England before coming to America and remaining Smiths? The Hedrick name was Heiderick or Von Heiderick in the Pfalz region of Bavaria before landing in America and becoming Hedrick. So, we are German and English, true, but after landing on these shores in the 1600’s we intermarried with the people who were here before us, not just once but many times. So don’t be surprised that my Choctaw auntie sat across from me at the reunion. And her pretty daughter who married the Torres, and yes, his people did come from Mexico and are wonderful people. The cousin who married the Egyptian wasn’t there this year but is always an interesting addition to our jumble of various background cousins. So don’t be so quick to judge us Southerners and our family traditions and heritage. We also have Irish, Italian, Scots, and others tumbled into the mix and that, I think, makes us stronger and better than if we had tried to keep marrying into the same basic background. It is universally known that mongrels are of a stronger constitution than purebreds.