Last weekend featured the annual gathering of the Conrad Family Reunion in Blue Ridge. The serenity of the mountain was shattered by 40-50 (someone was always coming or going) of my aunts and uncles, cousins and their children. As always, the food was good (and plentiful) and activities were abundant.
This year was a bit "off" for me as I hobbled with brace, boot, and walker.- aunts and uncles were running circles around me! I was especially disappointed not to be able to tube the Toccoa River- something I've done annually for close to 40 years!
My limited mobility kept me still more than usual and gave me the chance to hear more stories... and maybe tell a few, as well. I heard about life plans from the children of the cousins I grew-up with- what exciting futures! An earlier generation told stories that included my Dad and I discovered new secrets about my grandmother. Stories about Pop were bittersweet- dementia has quieted a truly great story-teller.
I was reminded that it is stories- the shared life we experience that make us family. We may not all remember them the same way, if at all!, but we were in it- triumphs and tragedies- together. Maybe this is one reason we often call church, family.