Lies and laughter

Published 4:09 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Memorial Day is special to me for at least two reasons.

First, we should never forget the real reason for the holiday. Our nation’s freedom was not free and, when all the sacrificial deaths are added up, the number is a sobering 1.3 million or more. We should never forget those sons and daughters that gave their all for every one of us.

The second reason the holiday is special for me is that our family reunion has always been set for the Sunday before Memorial Day. I have arrived at the age where most of my great aunts and uncles have died. Most of the sisters and brothers of my father and mother have died. We lost my father a few years ago. It’s getting closer to the day when my generation will be the “old folks” at the reunion.

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The reunion of which I speak is from the father’s side of the family. My mother’s side is held in April. This Memorial Day reunion was begun by my grandfather a long time ago to remember and honor his side and his wife’s side of the family.

There are years when the crowd is larger than other years. Last year’s attendance was affected by a weather event. It was forecast for a big, big rain. As it turned out, the rain was not so great, but because of the forecast many chose to stay home.

This year the weather is going to be great. It’s supposed to be hot, but sunny, and I’m hoping I will see lots of folks that I don’t get to see but once in a while. In fact, there will be many that I know their faces but not their names. Being a part of the old crowd now also means I’m part of the “forgetful” crowd.

A church member told me a few years ago, “I just don’t remember names as well as I used to.” I answered, “I don’t remember anything as well as I used to!”

One great part of the weekend will be the preparation of the barbecue. Our family cooks it. Our small family house will include about 17 sleepovers. That’s a lot of flushing of toilets if you know what I mean. In preparation, momma had the septic tank vacuumed!

Then there is all the cooking. We menfolk will work outside with the smoker and about 70 pounds of Boston butts, plus sausage, ribs, and whatever varmint happens to walk by. You know those armadillo that we call “possum on the half-shell.”

My brother has told me that he’s got over a hundred dollars’ worth of bottled cokes, grape and orange sodas, root beers and other kinds of soft drinks. There may be other beverages, too, but I won’t mention them!

Everybody comes in on Friday. Early Saturday, the fire will be lit using some of that Hurricane Michael oak. This year, getting wood was no problem. We’ll gather around the smoker, eat do-nuts, at first, and sausage for breakfast and lunch, while drinking those ice-cold sodas or whatever.

We’ll be waiting for the Boston butts to burn on the outside where we can pull some off and put it on a piece of white bread. I don’t even know if we’ll need any sauce. For napkins, we’ll use paper towels.

Naturally, we’ll lie. Can’t help it. There are three lawyers in the family! Other family members will come by for a moment just to “see if we are doing it right.”

On Sunday, the rest of the folks will gather at the Fellowship Hall in Cotton, Ga. More lies and laughter. That’s what reunions are all about.