A Cowboy’s Faith: Joyful reunions give lifetime memories

buchmanhead“Oh, how the attitude changes when one gets old.”

Always being forced to attend family reunions with Mom was one of the most dreaded times growing up.

It was the same every year. There were all of those “old people,” who we didn’t know, and then didn’t think we needed to know, or cared to know. All they wanted to do was sit around in hard chairs, eat and talk.

Then, we generally wanted to be on the go; ants seemingly be in our pants. And, the dinner most others seemed to be so excited about didn’t mean anything to us. Can’t tell by looking now, but we were always a picky eater.

Chicken, stuffed eggs, vinegar salads and anything from strange, unknown kitchens made our tummy sour, and does today; obviously we’ve never been starving. Still, about the only thing we’d take, as others’ plates were overflowing with such, was some of Mom’s meatloaf and scalloped potatoes.

Worst part of those deals, though, was that Mom expected us to be on the program. We always refused, but Mom was the boss. Several times, we grudgingly gave one of the speeches we’d prepared for school or competitions.

Our presentations were terrible, and nobody ever listened; many were actually sleeping off dinner as we talked. The most embarrassing of all was when we talked about the world food shortage right after everybody there had just stuffed themselves.

A game of workup softball followed reunion programs, and despite our poor athletic ability, we always played, and generally got several hits and runs.

Now, most of those who attended the family reunions five decades ago are gone, and we wish we’d gotten to know them better. Their life stories, experiences and heritage are important to us now, but we’ll never have the opportunity to hear them first hand.

Today, we understand and appreciate the importance of family gatherings. Unfortunately, we don’t have  much family left for reunions, and when one is planned, few attend.

Nearly 200 gathered for a reunion recognizing the 100th wedding anniversary of our wife’s grandparents. More than 500 photographs on a slide show reflected a century of the family. It was an important time.

Reminds us of Second Timothy 1:4: “I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.”

Frank_BuchmanFrank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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