Summer Is Family Reunion Time

Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means...

Unless you're going to be out of the country for the next three months (not bloody likely this year), at some point you'll attend that great American event, the Family Reunion.

It goes by several different names:

  • a niece or nephew's graduation
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • a niece or nephew's wedding
  • the Fourth of July BBQ

Some families even call them family reunions.

Go figure.

But at least then you have a fairly good idea of how the day (or weekend) will play out.

By any of the other names...not so much.

A niece or nephew's graduation

Tickets to the graduation ceremony are usually limited to immediate family members - parents, grandparents, and siblings - so your presence won't be required until the get-together afterward at the home of the graduate. Which naturally is in a residential area with limited parking.

Depending on the size of your family, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk as much as a block. Cool comfortable clothing too, as the only place to sit may be on the patio or porch.

The good news is you won't have to stay long unless you choose to. Drop your gift on the table by the door or attach the envelope with your check to the money tree, congratulate the grad, have a cup of punch and a piece of cake, leave. Pretty painless and you stay on the Christmas card list for another year.

Or just send a gift and a card, or (preferably) a card that includes a check. Cash is even better. Determine amount by whether the grad has finished high school or (finally!) college.

A Memorial Day picnic in a city park:

These will usually be pretty tame, because most city parks don't allow alcohol.

Enclosures quaintly called "shelter houses" can be reserved ahead of time so that Cousin Bubba and Cousin No Neck don't have to go to the park at the crack of dawn to lay claim to the shelter named in the invitation.

Reserving a shelter ahead of time also prevents your family from arriving at the one named in your invite only to find some other family's Bubba and No Neck staked out in it.

City parks will also have at least one playground, and perhaps a swimming pool, to keep the kids entertained. One or two adults (or older teenagers) will volunteer - or be "volunteered" - to supervise the kiddies. Preferably armed with a cell phone to notify parents of injuries if the play area or pool is out of shouting distance of where the family has gathered. Or to call 911 first if there's a lot of blood...or the child is unconscious and not breathing.

Memorial Day Weekend at a lake:

Rife with opportunities to fracture already-fragile familial relationships.

First off, there's the matter of lodging. Some out-of-towners will join the tribal spirit by camping out.

Those who show up with only a tent and a couple of lawn chairs are automatically tagged as 'losers'. Will usually have the most kids, and get no points for showing up in the first place except from the next group:

Those with a pop-out camper or a small fifth wheel. They're frugal, like to spend time in the outdoors, can be anywhere on the food chain, and are usually the most fun to be around. Will also be the ones who bring 3-ring binders full of family history, which will be spread out on the picnic table they've dragged under the awning of the camper/fifth wheel.

Make no mistake about it, those who arrive in an RV with AC and a satellite dish are slumming. Only showing up to preserve their place (or hoping to be mentioned) in the will of the most well-off family member. Everything out of their mouths for the next three days will relate to the size of their bank account(s), investment portfolio, and number of homes and vehicles owned or recently purchased. They'll also have a compact car hooked to the back of the RV for trips to the mall, and for meeting the motel bunch for drinks in town come sundown instead of sitting around the communal campfire.

The motel bunch, of course, are those who consider tents, campers, and RVs a complete waste of money, and wouldn't dream of sleeping on anything but a king-size bed with a remote on the bedside table. They also never show up at the lake each day until they've read the entire New York Times at the local Starbucks.

A niece or nephew's wedding:

Nothing earth shattering ever happens at the wedding itself. It's the reception where people get into trouble. Alcohol has a way of making Cousin Bimbo forget the hunk in the tuxedo is her obnoxious first cousin, and vice versa. Uncle Festus turns into Super Stud and hits on the twenty-something bridesmaids, all of whom are young enough to be his granddaughters.

Even if the reception is outdoors, Aunt Lulabelle will show up in the gown she wore to her prom in 1957...and to every "formal" affair since then. Which wouldn't be so bad if her husband wasn't in the Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts that'll make him stick out like a sore thumb in the requisite "family" photos.

Fourth of July BBQ

Depends on what time Uncle Festus or Cousin Bubbastart drinking and which one is in charge of cooking themain course. If Uncle F, then the hamburgers and hot dogs will be edible. If not, better bring your own bucket of KFC. The only thing Bubba keeps an eye on is Cousin Bimbo's cleavage while the hamburgers and hot dogs turn into chunks of charcoal.

Also be sure to inquire how long the potato salad and coleslaw have been sitting in the sun. Nothing like a case of food poisoning to bring a family together...in the ER.

Play it safe and stick to potato chips and the veggie tray...and your own bucket of KFC. And sit as far back as possible if Cousin Bubba is in charge of setting off the fireworks!

No matter how your family gathers or what they call the occasion, enjoy yourself.

And start saving now so that you can be out of the country next summer!

Do you like family reunions?

  • Yes! Love them - can't wait to see everybody!
  • NO! I'd rather have a root canal!
  • Depends on which side of the family is having it.
See results without voting

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Comments 60 comments

Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

I look forward to family reunions. Our family has lost so many members that it’s a tiny group now compared to the past. We are a feisty bunch---its fun, laughter and downright pure enjoyment. We reminisce about family we have lost yet, spiritually remain with us.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Nancy, I too look forward to family gatherings now because there are so many empty places at the table. This hub simply echos the attitude of some who think their relatives will *always* be around and therefore it's no biggie if they skip opportunities to see them while they still can.


MindField profile image

MindField 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Love it, Jama! Don't want to be invited, that's for sure, but love Bubba turning everything edible into charcoal 'cause he can't take his eyes from his cousin's cleavage.

When I call myself an uber-introvert, I aint a'kiddin'. Weddings, funerals, birthday parties, bridal showers, girls' night out, ladies who lunch (unless it's just me and one other), coffee klatches - don't know from root canals but I'd rather have my wisdom teeth removed all over again.

Oh, and if you couldn't guess - when forced to go, I'm the one in the hotel reading the New York Times until the last possible second and back there as fast as I can get without totally outraging anyone.

Is there nothing I like to do in a group setting? Well, boys' night out...be sure to count me in! 


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Mindfield, I was pretty sure you were the hotel/NYTimes type... lol! But guess I should've included wisdom teeth extraction in that last poll choice!


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

You know, Jama, you've been one of my favorite hubbers since the day you became my first fan. Your style I love so much. It's different at times, but still somehow the same. This is crazy, because I read most of your hubs and I tried not to comment tooo much, because most of the time I didn't agree. But now I'm done. Because family is the most beautiful thing in the world, at least for me. I don't care what family members are like, I just love them the way they are. They love me back. Everyone has their own things and stuff, but I exist too, I guess. I'm happy to be able to quote you on this, though: " This hub simply echos the attitude of some who think their relatives will *always* be around..."


mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 7 years ago from North Carolina

I never knew some park would banned alcohol? I wonder why our relatives were never caught for making all that ruckess.

Yeah, I absolutely hated having family reunion when I was a kid. Our culture takes a loooong time to prepare the meal after its killed. If ya know what I mean?


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Got 2 reunions planned for this summer already.. Yahooo! I love my father's families reunions, usually 75 - 150 people there every other year.. the other is my ex's family's bbq. Ok so they got custody of me in the divorce.. Still all good!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Wow, this is brilliant, love it! We go to the odd mass family gathering in Israel, but they are pretty good fun (-:


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Haunty, thank you (I think). ;D

Mayhmong, most American city parks prohibit alcohol. Can't tell you about other countries.

Candie, I'm envious! Two reunions this summer. Wow....

Thanks, LG. Attending a reunion in Israel does sound like fun, from what I've heard about Israelis. This year will be Isaac's first one?


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Jama, you are cordially invited, and bring your harley and a lovely potato salad.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Candie, no Harley (of my own) but I make lovely potato salad. Thanks!


CabinGirl 7 years ago

I wish I had a family reunion all I got is a bunch of smelly leering pirates, I love your lips they are really cute !


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

And I love your....uh...parrot, CabinGirl! ;D


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

Yeah, I probably drank to much last night. :) I just wanted to thank you for this entertaining hub. Have a nice day!


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Just when the fun is really good and I get to see yer smiling face, it's gone with the wind dear JG. bye for only a moment or two. What is time after all? keep 'em coming and make 'em laugh, charlie


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Haunty, don't know what to tell you about the drink last night, but glad you found this hub entertaining! A nice day to you too. ;D

C.C., I'm totally confused, but aren't I always? ???


HeSaid SheSaid profile image

HeSaid SheSaid 7 years ago from our favorite love seat

Oh JamaGenee, now this gave me a wonderful laugh this morning! A little bit different than ours have been, but the same characters, haha. I do love your stories. Need to get Hank over here to read this. He'll get such a kick out of it. Glad you wrote this one!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Naddy, I'm thrilled to give you (and Hank) a good laugh this morning! You know I love your stories too. Something about getting older that makes us drop a lot of pretenses, I think. ;D


Janetta 7 years ago

LOL Jama--My grandparents have a fifth wheel and practically live in it and we *have* staked out the shelter at the park before! HAHA :)


Aya_Hajime profile image

Aya_Hajime 7 years ago

lol - family reunions - good times. The nephew/niece's wedding sounds like it would be a lot of fun though.

My mom has a big family. Most of them don't like each other very much, and gossip like drunken sailors.

Makes for fun family reunions :D


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Janetta, some of those fifth wheels are like tiny homes.  Quite livable for long periods.  Some cousins of mine like fine wines and their own beef, so theirs is outfitted with a full-size freezer and wine rack!  As for those shelter house stake outs, aren't they *fun*???  ;D

Aya, most family reunions *are* fun, even when family members "gossip like drunken sailors".  They enjoy it, or they wouldn't do it!  ;D


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

No, Isaac's been luckier (?) than that. One aged 6 months, one aged 18 months, one aged 2 and 4 months, one aged 2 and 10 months, and this one coming.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Quite the international traveler for one so young, LG! Wonderful!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

JamaGenee, great hub and funny as well. It seems like we remember the worst parties and most badly behaved relatives and forget the gatherings that go smoothly and quietly.


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey

Ahhhh this reminds me that it's almost Memorial Day and the summer fun is about to begin. I think you have the makings of a novel here, Jama. This was a great read and I want to know more. My family is small and mostly well-behaved these days, but the old days were definitely another story. Thanks for the memories:-)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, robie! And your'e welcome. Sorry...can't go into more detail about some of these events until Uncle Festus and Cousin Bubba are sure the statute of limitations has expired. How lucky you are to have a small, well-behaved family these days.... ;D


Silver Freak profile image

Silver Freak 7 years ago from The state of confusion

How about a family reunion where uncle Drawl blows up the gas station, all the kids end up with sun poisoning, and all the Aunts and uncles forget they're in their 30's and try to outdo all the kids by showing off skiing tricks they haven't done for a decade!

Family reunions are just not my cuppa, but I appreciate the ones who do go to them. I'm more of a one on one kinda person and my family is more of a horde!

Great hub JG!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Uncle Drawllll....? ROTFL!


MindField profile image

MindField 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

I see another great pairing, here, Jama. You and Beth (Silver Freak) need to write the ultimate hilarious family novel (soon to be film). Okay, admittedly, this probably isn't right up my alley, but people like Jeff what's-his-name and the Cable Guy have and are making a fortune from it. And you two have got it down pat. Whether it's my thing or not, I have laughed out loud at the great names and antics of lascivious and laconic uncles and prom-dressed aunts on Jama's side and the pyrotechnics of Beth's Uncle Drawl!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Mindfield, there *are* quite a few similarities between SF's family and mine. But I keep picturing her dad sprinting to the bus to yank Uncle Drawl out before the gas pumps blew! What a movie that would make, but someone else will have to help her write it. I'm more the A. Christie murder-at-tea-time type. ;D


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Jama, don't you have Aunt Blabbermouth in the family?  And what about Big Sis Obnoxious and Little Bro Lazy Bastard? :-)

Ayy!  I did chuckle at the way you tell it, although we all know the IT itself is not much of a laughing matter, uh?  Laugh!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Elena, we did have an Aunt Blabbermouth, but she passed away several years ago.  In her prime, she could spread gossip faster than group texting!  Aunt B's Big Sis Obnoxious has gone into a home, but Alzheimer's hasn't robbed her of the "gift" of obnoxiousness, and at this late date probably never will.

And yes, there's a Little Bro Lazy Bastard, but we all moved and got unlisted phone numbers, and he can't show up at our doors unannounced like he used to.  We only have to deal with him at funerals now, altho we do miss seeing his lovely, otherwise intelligent wife on a regular basis.  ;D


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

HA!  I knew these 3 characters couldn't be missing from your family, it'd be the only family in the whole wide world that didn't have them!  Sorry about Aunt B's passing, though.  About Big Sis Obnoxious, I don't mean to make fun of Alzheimer's disease, but my own Aunt Ms Fun & Devil May Care suffers from it and though she has lost many of her former qualities, she is still Fun & Devil May Care!

Question: How come Little Bro Lazy Bastard gets always the pretty wife???


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Better make it clear that I wasn't making fun of Alzheimer's either!  In fact my favorite aunt succumbed to it, but not until after 10 years of not recognizing anyone in the family.  Very sad.

How do the Little Bro Lazy Bs always get the pretty wife?  Because what they lack in motivation and work ethic, they make up for with truckloads of charm and a PhD in BS that apparently only works on her. ;D


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

I can't believe I missed a hub about Uncle Festus!!!

So to clarify, I am of the Fifth Wheel variety. But no 3 ring binders. It's Poker and Mexican Train dominoes on the table under the awning. And I keep a padlock on the bathroom door because the cousins (Uncle Festus' crew) think they're delicate.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Well, you *have* been a little busy lately.  Mexican Train dominoes?  Never heard of 'em! 

Wise move, the padlock on the bathroom door.  There's *nothing* delicate about Uncle Festus's crew, least of all the "fragrance" they leave behind in an unlocked john.  ;D


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Our summer is almost over hmmm we didn't have any family reunion this year. LOL We had ours a few years ago and planning to have one maybe next year.  It is such a big task organizing a hundred plus people but we are all looking forward to it.  :-)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

A hundred plus people does sound like fun!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

When I was little and living in Wisconsin, my father's side of the family had big annual reunions in a park. As a kid, I remember diving into a great big pile of sawdust/woodshavings hunting for pennies along with the other kids. Of course there was the food, playground, etc. After moving to Texas, we no longer had hoards of relatives living nearby so the reunions ended. But your very funny hub brought back my childhood memories of them.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Peggy, I'd never heard of hiding pennies in a pile of sawdust/woodshavings to keep kids entertained at a reunion (or anywhere else for that matter)!  How novel! But it *is* sad when you move far away from most of your relatives and can't get to family reunions.  Glad this revived good childhood memories for you.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

God only knows I wish I could be out of the country and I certainly plan on being gone next summer, love the hub and yes our family has family reunions. lololo :D


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

AE, I could tell your family has reunions from the first part of the comment! Maybe you could bring sawdust/woodshavings for the penny hunt like Peggy's family had. ;D


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Mexican Train Dominoes is a blast. You'll have to try it.

My son is fascinated with the toilet in the 5th wheel. I have no idea why. He'd rather pee outside than in the house, but for some reason, he loves to play in the trailer's bathroom. Go figure.

Have you seen "2 Weeks Notice"? That scene where they invade the family's RV and she explodes in their bathroom is hilarious!!!!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

LM, something weird happens to people as soon as they cross the state line into OK.  I thought I only imagined it while driving through...maybe not.  Mexican Train Dominoes...I rest my case.

Has your son been hanging out with Uncle Festus again?  Uncle F was always fascinated with indoor toilets on wheels too. ;D

Nope, haven't seen "2 Weeks Notice".  Will have to check it out.


Béla Mongyi 7 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jama! Look out for unexpected family members. :)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Bela. I'll look out for those unexpected family members!


lotuslove19 profile image

lotuslove19 7 years ago

well for me and my family its winter time that unites us and not summers my children return to their motherland in winters.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

lotuslove, you must live in the Southern Hemisphere. ???


Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

JamaGenee, thank you for sharing this story.

This is my introduction to your hubs, and I am looking forward to reading more as time permits.

This was fun to read because I was picturing our own Cousin Lulabelle and Uncle Festus along with all the other family members you mentioned. And it reminds me that we haven't had a family reunion in a few years. Think I will put a bug in sister socialite's ear. She will want to fix that, and we can look forward to more of the same next year.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Duchess, you're most welcome! And the next reunion will be even *more* fun if you've discovered the truth behind those old family stories!


SoftCornHippo profile image

SoftCornHippo 6 years ago

Hey-great! Family fun! Always a big hit in hippo land! Where'd you get that terrif foto at the top? Those people almost look familiyar!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

SoftCornHippo, the foto was one floating around that I thought representative of a typical American family in the early 1900s. Generic enough that it probably *does* look familiar. It looks amazingly like the ancestors of a friend, but isn't.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Right. It's now official. I am your slave. What a clever person you are :-)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

When one comes from a totally dysfunctional family, writing clever hubs about them is infinitely cheaper than a shrink...and sooooo much more therapeutic. ;D


mostewart profile image

mostewart 6 years ago

I can't believe how many people don't like family reunions. If you don't like them perhaps you aren't going to the right ones. LOL Our reunions are so much fun- we always choose a theme and then base everything, food, games and entertainment around that theme. This year we are working on a circus theme. For fun reunion theme ideas see www.familyreunionhelper.com


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

OMG, we have about 4 family reunions this summer. One 70th birthday party, one wedding, one sister coming into town from the mid-west, and a handful of birthday parties. I'm going to start digging my bomb shelter now....


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

steph, you have my sympathies. Only one wedding on my calendar...so far. ;D


SilverGenes 6 years ago

JamaGenee, this was funny, poignant, honest and downright GOOD. These reunions can result in a mixed bag of memories and thank heavens time has a way of making some of them hilarious! And yes, much cheaper than a shrink! :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I love reunions, well I did when I had loads of family still around, mind you they never got on with my husband, hated him! lol! great to see you back, nell


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Hi yourself, Nell! I consider reunions one of those things in life, depending on which stage of life you're in (or which side of the family you're on), as either enjoyable or an event to be endured. Nothing like a reunion to let an unpopular spouse know how much he or she is disliked! The herd mentality. Your husband was a true gem to accompany you to reunions on your side of the family! ;D

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