What is a reunion without first a union?

It’s that time of year again. You know, that time after Halloween when you begin taking down the sheety ghosts and throwing away the rotten, moldy, blackened, gnat-infested carcasses of the pumpkins on your porch and prepare to replace them with Christmas decorations. It’s that time when we begin winding down the year and getting ready to board up the tree houses for the winter, and start migrating inside where we can convene around fireplaces and football games. We also tend to have a lot more family reunions this time of year.

And don’t you always invite all your relatives over for Thanksgiving lunch? All your relatives – including the ones you only see on those obligatory familial gatherings – show up and remind you once again why you only see them on obligatory familial gatherings. Even that weird uncle who’s been coming since 1987, but no one remembers where he was or who he was before that. No one even knows for sure if he’s really an uncle, or if – more importantly – he’s the uncle of anyone in your family at all. You know, the one who wanders the halls with his cane hacking and snorting, talking to himself, and he always tries to sit a little too close to your sister? Why do we put ourselves through that torture every year? Just to see family members we don’t really want to see? There’s a reason we see them once a year.

Ah, the Thanksgiving meal debacle. We all sit around the table and eat until we can’t possibly fit another bite in our stomachs, then remember suddenly that mom left the pumpkin pie in the oven. So we eat some more. Then the men stand up and loosen their belts a notch and make their way to the living room to gather around the television where inevitably, a Cowboys game is on. Within an hour of sitting down in front of the game, most of the men will fall asleep, and the room will be filled with low rumbling snore, only occasionally spotted with the interrupt of a hacking cough where one of the older men hock something up, chew it back and swallow it down before returning to the normal, steady rumble. It’s almost a comforting sound. The football game is nice and quiet, lacking the shouts and hollers of normal Sunday games. The women still sit around the dining room table talking about sewing and cats. Great times. These are the days we live for. The days that are so important that we feel obligated to invite all those family members we never see, so that they too may participate in the great Thanksgiving festivities. Of sitting around sleeping and snoring and watching TV.

What is the point of a family reunion? What, in fact, is the point of a reunion of any type? Why get together with family members you never see? There’s a reason you only hang out at reunions. You’re reminded every time you see uncle Kissel how much you loathe him and his sardine and Copenhagen breath. And your Aunt Bertrude who has the funny little lump in her belly that you’re not quite sure if it’s a breast or a fat roll… If you only hang out with these people at reunions, then why would you want to hang out with them even at reunions? If they’re not good enough company for the rest of the time, why ever? Just because they’re family, and you should? That’s horse shit.

Same thing for high-school and college reunions. I see these cobblers every ten years at best, and haven’t seen them since I was eighteen. What the hell makes anyone think I need to see them now, when I’m twice that? I’ve seen them precisely twice since I graduated. At ten years, and then, well, no, that’s right, in fact, I skipped, comma, the fifteen-year reunion. I saw it pointless. Here in the next couple of years though, we’ll have our twenty-year. And things will be different. I’ll be sure and miss that one! Because seriously? If they’re not good enough friends for me to hang out with on a day-to-day basis, or even year-to-year, why the hell would I want to see them in the first place?

No, friends, the word reunion doesn’t mean what you think it does. The definition for reunion needs to be re-worded to say the following:

  • n. – A gathering of acquaintances or familiars who do not like each other enough to be considered friends.

So let’s revisit this one more time and beat it with a dead horse: the entire reason to host or visit a reunion is because you don’t see these people enough, right? Makes sense. We don’t see these cobblers enough, so we’re having a reunion. Well then ask yourself, why don’t you see them enough? And if your answer has something to do with ambivalence, then maybe you should cancel the damn reunion all together.

I know one guy who has more reunions than they do normal hang-outs. Seriously. They have like four family reunions a year. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of calling it a reunion? Clearly, you all hang out enough. So there’s no point in having reunions. Just drive across the state four times a year and hang out. Business as usual. I don’t get it.

So I say let’s boycott the reunion. Let’s stop going all together. And in a few years it will have become a thing of the past. Then we can take back that word and let it mean something else. I mean, aren’t we running out of words for all the definitions we have floating around out there? Couldn’t we use that word to mean, for instance, the tingling you get in your testicles when you’ve been sitting too long and you suddenly stand up? “Hey urrabody, I got some reunion goin on up in this bitch! Holla!”

Or maybe I just don’t get it. If that be the case, someone please explain it to me. Because the bottom line is, that I just really don’t want to see the people I don’t want to see.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. SahSah

    I see your points. And mostly agree. Sometimes though, there is a sense of belonging that comes from seeing the lineage. Like when I walk into a room of Davis’ and I know instantly we are related – we all have the same eyes. Same shade of blue, same shape. And it seems really interesting to me that despite the distances, there is a very human connection to people I don’t know. And it makes not knowing them ok. Because I can see that we share something very deep – our heritage. I love that great great great great x8 or whatever Andrew Paxton Davis had some kids and they had kids and their kids had kids and then our sweet Granddaddy was born and he had our phenomenal father who then fathered us and we all got the same eyes. Pretty neat stuff. Same with the other side. Little sweet angel Callie has our precious Grandmother’s nose. And Jude got Granddaddy’s eye color. So sometimes, I like to go and see all these people that share my blood. We may not need to commune frequently, we may not enjoy or even like one another outside the walls of that “reunion”, but we are related. And honoring that on occasion with a hug and prayer is worth it to me.

  2. Awesome rant, Space! You had me laughing so many times, I lost count. “Beat it with a dead horse.” That is genius! ;)

  3. Siege

    I start most foods that I cook with unions. Usually you have to start the unions first, especially if you want to caramelize them or something. Then after the unions, carrots, or whatever else, then the meat last, as you want to keep the meat from drying out.

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