Recently I attended our 56th Kelley Family Reunion. There were 12 children in my Dad’s family, and he was second from the youngest, so you can imagine the huge group we have. We’ve been wearing name tags for the last few years because there’s a new crop of kids every year, and it’s hard to know which of the 12 siblings was their “line.”
It’s great seeing cousins that you shared visits with when you were growing up. I don’t think there are as many family visits or reunions nowadays. Families seems to be spread out over more territory, and you just don’t often hear of children going to their cousins’ house for a few days during the summer and then bringing them back for a visit with you. We did, and it made us closer as we grew up.
It’s sad that there are no longer any of the original 12 siblings left. In fact, the only one left is the wife of the youngest brother. She comes every year with her daughter and sits quietly and gets hugs from everyone.
And the food—it was legendary. Delicious, fresh, and homemade. One aunt was noted for her coconut cake, one for her black walnut cake, and others were just as closely associated with their pies, fresh vegetables, special salads, cornbread dressing and, of course, fried chicken,. My mom held the honor for most delicious dressing!
The (mostly) aunts’ cooking has been replaced by the aging cousins. Southern cooking is still the most prevalent, but there is more diversity in the food. One cousin is a chef specializing in Italian cooking. He always brings a big pan of something with pasta, and it is beyond delicious. There is a lot more KFC— not only fried but also grilled. Who would have dared years ago to bring “store bought” food! These days we all seem busier but, hey, it’s good and no one has to get spattered with grease. We also have more “healthy” items on the table—fresh veggies, sugar-free desserts, grilled asparagus (one of my contributions this year). My plan was to bring a cake that was simpler to make, but wouldn’t you know it, a cousin called and said, “You are bringing your Italian Cream Cake again, aren’t you?” Naturally, I did. At least for one more year.
Anyway, it was hot, sweaty, and we all still posed for pictures. I enjoyed seeing all my cousins and look forward to doing it all again next year. Does your family have a reunion? Tell me about it ….