August 9, 2013

It’s All About the Family Reunion

West Virginia<br /> State Capitol (Charleston, West Virginia)So, my mother–who I miss every day of my life–was born and raised in Ansted, West Virginia. (We call it ‘Dead-sted’ because there is literally nothing to do there. I’ve seen chickens wander in the middle of the street looking for entertainment–I kid you not.) My mother, however, was proud to call herself a hillbilly, loved the Grand Ol Opry and Willie Nelson, and told me she had spent her entire life camping–which is why when I was growing up we never went. (I now understand why we never camped as a family–and I’m totally ok with it. No showers. Going potty outside. No thank you. But I digress.) I spent last weekend in Charleston, West Virginia with my mother’s father’s side of the family–and boy was it a hoot, to say the least.

After driving 2 hours to Virginia to pick up my cousin, and then another 5 hours to West Virginia, we arrived on Friday evening in time for the meet and greet. I met relatives I never knew I had and chatted with some I hadn’t talked to in years. They came from near, Ansted, WV and far; I have a cousin that lives on an Indian reservation in the state of Washington. Needless to say, he got the prize for having traveled the farthest. It was an awesome start.

That night, some of us went to Multifest. An outdoor festival at the State Capital grounds with food, vendors, and entertainment. I bought a $5 ring with a stone in my signature color of pink, had some delicious pulled pork, and we saw the Zapp Band–a band I’ve never actually heard of but apparently I know several of their songs.

We slept in and missed the breakfast, tour of the Booker T. Washington Cabins, and the Jordan Photo Collection. (Psst…My Uncle Harold was a Jordan.) So, after a quick stop at Starbucks in the mall across the street we got ready for the picnic. Held at a local park, there was food and fun for all. Volleyball, sack races, and my personal fave–a hula hoop contest. Sadly, my hoola hoop skills are not what they once were and I failed to qualify for the contest. Next time! chicken and waffle<br /> chips

Post picnic, we made a quick stop at Kroger to pick up some munchies for the room. The ‘chicken and waffle’ flavored potato chips did not make it into the cart, however. Because I didn’t think people would believe me, here’s photographic evidence. I can’t make this stuff up.

The banquet on Saturday night was jam-packed with family entertainment. There were poetry readings, cello playing, a dramatic monologue, and my personal favorite–family lineages chock full of stories. Ahh the stories…

Like the one about my underage cousin driving the Thunderbird with the steering wheel that slid from side to side. Or how my cousin in CA tried to can apricots for the first time and the jars exploded and had to be buried in the backyard because she clearly did it wrong. And then there was the time my grandfather and uncles got into a brawl with some guys and thankfully came out unscathed. Until my uncle went to put his coat collar up and realized that it was no longer attached to his coat because a guy in the fight had a knife and had sliced through it. I could go on and on…

Oh, and of course more food and dancing. Well, you know after the party comes the after-party. Room 6xx! Needless to say, I went to bed late–somewhere in the 3am area I think. We missed breakfast (again) on Sunday, and my cousin and I were the last to leave. It was just so hard saying good-bye to everyone.

Family Reunion 2015
We have these reunions every 2 years. Which is a good thing, because during the banquet it’s determined who will host the next one. Guess who has the honor? That’s right–after being absent from family reunions for TWENTY-TWO YEARS, I attend one and now I’m hosting (with my cousin as co-chair). The 2015 reunion will be in Bmore. Again, I can’t make this stuff up. The thing is, I’m looking forward to it. My cousin says all I care about is the ‘fluff’ but I say the devil is in the details. You find a park for the picnic and a hotel to stay in, everything else is fun, right? (Planning this will have entertainment value for years to come…)

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  1. Catherine Fowler said:

    I have to speak up in defnse of Ansted West Virginia.


    1. T.L. Finney said:

      Actually, I hear there are a lot of new homes in the area my mom grew up in–who knew! 🙂


      1. Catherine Fowler said:

        Ansted is where my mom grew up in. She was born there.


          1. Catherine Fowler said:

            Yes it is. Did she know a familly named Grose?

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