Friday, July 6, 2012

Joint Holidays

or How To Be Embarassed And Overfed By Relatives

As has become the standard on holidays now, we had two places to go this Fourth of July.  His family was having a family reunion at his parents house starting at noon and my family was gathering at my grandmother's at four o'clock for her annual Fourth of July BBQ.  The family reunion is a fairly rare event for his family, while the BBQ at grandma's is a yearly event for my family.

"You WILL attend my Fourth of July barbecue
or you will NEVER hear the end of it, young lady."
You'd think that would make it easy to choose which event to attend.  Go to his family reunion this year and catch up with my family next year.  Oh, but life is never that easy, is it?  My grandmother's Fourth of July barbecue is a non-negotiable event for my family.  Attendance is not only expected, it is mandatory.  I'm told that my grandmother sends out invitations to my great aunts and their children and grandchildren, but I've never seen one personally.  My grandmother just assumes that my mom and her siblings and all of their children will show up every Fourth of July, regular as clockwork.  Once in my youth and folly, I chose to go to Las Vegas with some friends for Fourth of July weekend.  It was nine years ago and I still hear about "the year I missed the barbecue" from my grandmother. 

Needless to say, skipping the barbecue was not an option.  So, my honey talked to his mother and was able to arrange the timing of events so we could attend both.  The family reunion would start at noon and the BBQ was set to start at four.  Other than dealing with oppressive heat and the possibility of getting stuffed from too much home cooking, we were all set.

Family Reunion Fun!
My honey was a little nervous about the family reunion.  It seems his father and aunt don't always see eye to eye on things and he was worried there would be some tension or an argument.  Maybe it was because I was meeting the rest of the family for the first time or just an abundance of holiday spirit, but everyone was on their best behavior.
Sort of...

Within minutes of our arrival, my honey's brother had told their aunt how he thought my honey should "knock me up" so we could get a jump start on a family of our own.  Wasn't that sweet of him to share that thought? Not!  This was not the only embarassing moment at the reunion, just the first. 

"Miss Lainey, are you and my uncle married yet? 
Well, when are you going to get married?"
his neice asked with the whole family listening.
My personal favorite was when my honey's father was getting ready to say the blessing before everyone dug into the food and my honey's neice turned to me and asked if we were married yet.  When I said no, my honey's neice proceeded to ask why not and could she be a flower girl when we did get married.  Meanwhile, everyone is standing around listening to this conversation, starting to laugh, and teasing my honey about the pressure he was going to be getting from all sides to propose pretty soon.  No pressure there, right?  After that, his mother and aunt felt the need to share the stories of how their husbands proposed to them.  Maybe they were trying to give my honey some ideas?

Of course, my honey's mom joking around by telling his aunt that I am an enabler that encourages my honey to cheat on his diet was also pretty high up on the embarassing list.  Offering him one bite of cheesecake from my plate and telling him that it won't kill him or wreck his diet does NOT make me an enabler! Does it?  In spite of these hiccups, the family reunion went very well.  Everybody ate, everybody socialized, everybody went home happy.  At 3:30, my honey and I made the rounds of hugs and goodbyes in order to hurry off to my grandmother's house for round two. 

There are plenty of nuts in this family tree.
Blessedly, my family didn't do anything too embarrassing.  They just overwhelmed my honey with sheer numbers.  My grandparents and one aunt and uncle had already met my honey, but there were about twenty cousins and two aunts coming that he hadn't met before.  My honey went into his shy mode and got very quiet for a while once everyone started arriving en masse. 

His family gathering had consisted of sixteen people, only six of which were new to me.  My family gathering consisted of more than thirty people, twenty of which he was meeting for the first time.  And that was a really small gathering for my family.  The last time we all got together for a family funeral and did a head count, there were almost a hundred of us.  What can I say?  There's a lot of us.  My grandma was one of five and each of her siblings had four or more kids and now the kids and grandkids are having kids. 

We'd already eaten sloppy joe's and assorted picnic foods at his mother's house.  At my grandmother's place, we were force fed cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and meatballs.  Baked beans, fruit salad, cole slaw, and potato salad.  Corn bread, watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberry shortcake.  There was a ton of food and my grandfather was keeping a vigilant eye on everyone's plate to make sure they had enough and encouraging them to go get a second helping.  The barbecue was pot luck and since my honey didn't want to offend any aunts or cousins, he had some of everything.  By the time we got home, he had a belly ache and didn't want to go anywhere to see fireworks, so we watched the fireworks from the National Mall on television.  We also got a surprise from the neighbors across the back fence who put on a small fireworks display in their yard that we could watch from the back porch.  All in all, it was a fun, busy Independence Day.

1 comment:

  1. Redneck fireworks are always entertaining, not always for the same reasons as the big productions.

    Frankly, a Friday night at the Baysox is often better than July 4th.