24 November 2006

A Family Thanksgiving

David and I spent Thanksgiving with my parents in Martinsburg along with my cousins, Fred and Reid, and Reid's girlfriend, Jocelyn. It was a lovely holiday and we had a good time catching up. Fred is in the Coast Guard, stationed in the Tidewater area and Reid & Jocelyn work in professional theater and live up in New York, so we all headed out about the same time this afternoon. This is the second Thanksgiving that has had that particular guest list and it's the second time I've seen Reid & Jocelyn.

Because Fred and Reid grew up in Alabama and I grew up in Maryland, I've not spent a lot of time with my southern relatives. On Dad's side, my cousins are (sort of in order), Robbie, Kathy, and Betsy (Aunt Ann's kids) and Edith, Ashley, Elaine, Fred, Reid, Chance, Christopher, and Katie (Uncle Bill's kids). Dad's group was me, Ann, Sara, Bill, Karen, and Johnny. Of the cousins, I've met Robbie (and wife Belinda and their kids) four or five times; Kathy & Betsy once or twice, their spouses and kids never; all of Uncle Bill's crowd two or three times and Elaine and Ashley's spouses (and kids? Yes, I think kids.) never. Robbie is several years older than me and Christopher & Katie are about 15 years younger. I have no cousins on Mom's side because neither her sister nor her brother ever married.

So it is really good to get to meet people who are related to me. I wish that I had spent more time with them when we were younger, but they are damn fine adults and a pleasure to know now. Reid reminds me a lot of Uncle Bill and looks like him as Sara looked liked Dad. (In our family siblings look like a parent and very rarely like each other.) We all tell stories kind of the same way - it must be something in the bloodline that gets passed through the family. Of course, Fred is Bill's step-son and he has the same story telling technique, so maybe it's more an Alabama thing than a family thing. I dunno.

Daddy's parents lived in Mobile and Bill's family grew up in Mobile, Birmingham, and New Orleans, so they spent of lot of time with my grandparents over the years. Everyone but me and Sara called my grandparents "Charles Reade" and "Oleta." (Mom preferred that Sara and I say "Grandpa" and "Grandma" and eventually I shorted "Grandma" down to "Gram." Mom and Dad grew up with grandmothers called things liked Meemaw and Dadum and Bunka, so I can see Mom's point. When Sara was expecting Cheryl, Mom's friend, Faith, asked if Mom wanted to be called "Nanny" or "Grammy" or any of several other names and Mom just said, "Oh, God, can't the baby just call me Ann?" And so to Cheryl and Angela, Mom is "Grandma Ann," which worked out just fine.) I got to hear a lot of stories about my grandparents which I enjoyed knowing and I'm looking forward to hearing more.

All of us agreed that meeting at Dad and & Audrey's at least once a year, eatting a lot of good food, and catching up is good idea, so I'm already looking forward to next year.

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