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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Family Reunion

My Dad got into genealogy when I was a kid, in a pretty big way. As a result, he's served as editor of a family newsletter with a last name I'd never heard before I was an adult, and he's traveled all over going to reunions held by other branches of the family, often very distantly related, organized by other genealogy nuts.

I talked World Cup soccer with a man who had my last name at this shindig, but as far as my Dad knows, he's not a blood relative of ours.

Go figure.

I got to thinking, given how few of the people in attendance were anyone I'd ever met, about a character sketch, the basis for a funny and sad tale about a guy who crashes family reunions to feel a sense of belonging, to scam free food and community with people who he's not really related to.

I was talking about this with a woman named Jennifer (I've never met her before today but apparently we're kin, though distantly), and she said it actually happened at one of their picnics, that some people everyone assumed was part of the family just wandered over and joined the party. Except when asked which part of the family they came from, they said, 'No, we came from the camp site over there.'

Em surprised me (and I think herself) by actually enjoying the whole thing. Lots of little kids, a raffle, a large pot luck meal with lots of sweets for after, she was in hog heaven.

Mo didn't dig it as much, though she did eat heartily.

My nephew put his raffle ticket in for this Hot Wheels thing, and thought that meant he could just take it. When he learned that he only had a chance at it, he completely melted down. Then, hours later, when he'd settled down and all was right, he ended up having the winning ticket. Everyone seemed glad he'd won what he was so set on, and by his reaction it was like winning the Power Ball, but I had to wonder what kind of Pavlovian reinforcement it was. Wouldn't a reasonable child conclude that the tantrum had actually caused the good luck?

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