Sunday, January 11, 2015

Family Reunion


Some people can’t take reunions. I find them difficult. Aside from the celebration of New Year’s Eve, no other event so brings home the passing of time. It’s like getting hit in the face with a pie named “you’re getting older.” I know … deal with it! It happens to everybody.

Under stacks of papers on my desk I found notes from a trip to Illinois in October 2014 for a Stanard family reunion. Reunions are both exciting and sad. Kids just meeting each other chase about screaming and tussling. Parents converge, separate, renewing relationships and meeting family renegades. Grandparents chat with companions they’re known for decades. In this Stanard family, there are no surviving great-grandparents to take stock of their progeny.

The late Lola McCauley Stanard is the linchpin around which the family continues to maintain social connections. Perhaps it is because she essentially brought the children up alone under difficult circumstances that the siblings are good at keeping track of one another. It was exciting to see the successful, flourishing individuals from the little kids to the grandparents. The down-side was realizing I hadn’t seen some of them in years, during which time they’d moved on to other interests, and so had I. Lola’s sister Mary Keubel showed up, a special treat to see her.

After supper, a bonfire too big for marshmallows. 

When the hugs and kisses and regretful good-byes were over, my husband and I drove from Rochelle, which is about 60 miles NW of Chicago to O’Hare Airport. On the way we paid $9.60 in tolls. The DeKalb toll alone cost $3.60, but the steep fee didn’t seem to diminish the amount of traffic. Being from SC, I don’t figure tolls into the expense of getting from one place to another. In particular, I wasn't careful about having the right change that some tolls required.

Some of the things I noticed driving the farmland from Rochelle to Chicago: brilliant yellow trees growing singularly in open spaces; miles of brown corn fields, some undergoing harvest; horizons of sky-high windmills; trains with about 150 cars; a host of orderly electric wires strung across fields and on posts high enough to endanger airplanes; sooo many geese - in the air like clouds, floating on ponds, resting in fields.

The tail-end of the eventful weekend was the flight to Charlotte, NC, where we picked up the car and drove home. I was in Columbia in time for supper. I ate chocolate candy and peanuts, a palliative for depression. Doug and I often go to a movie when things need to settle down. Most of all, I retreat to recuperate. I can take only so much socializing before I clam up into my shell.

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