I just returned from an Evans Family reunion. Sadly Darling Drummer was being Darling Drummer and could not go along. It was instructional to know how much I missed him at this event and how greatly I longed for his daughters and their families to be among the numbers.

This was my father’s sister, Roberta’s, 90th birthday celebration. We gathered at Chautauqua Lake (a venerable learning institution started for Methodist ministers many years ago.) at the huge Athenaeum Hotel. There were 27 of us. Neither the hotel nor the Institution get an unreserved thumbs up from me, but there were many things that were great about it. The biking and lake activities prime among them.

But what was best was the family and the ability to move from group to group, catching up on news and the growth of all the littles. Suddenly having daughters it was so easy to see how important it was to have them be able to measure their babies’ growth against that of the others there. It was lovely to watch the little cousins bond. (Hint: we’ve made some good choices here, if you’re little, you’re cousins, if you’re middling, you’re aunties and uncles, moving on, you’re revered.  Only Roberta was able to be there in the revered category as Mommie doesn’t travel. And there are now two generations of aunties and uncles and SOME of us are not totally embracing of the Great Aunt – at which point the word seems to switch from ant to ont – nomenclature!) They bonded over sand castles. The elders bonded over wine and beer.

Tip: family reunions are becoming less frequent as families fragment and head off to the far corners of the country and world. Now more than ever we need them. Only families can teach one another to be family. Only in those groups can we make the decisions about what we will keep and what we do not leave for the next generation to weed out of family behavior. Your marriage will be encouraged. Your wounds will be healed. And family wisdom will be exchanged as you rock your way throught the weekend on the corner of the porch reserved just for you.