Here is the short story. (As in, when I started writing back last August, I began to write what would have to end up as a book, before I got to the point.)
We got to go to the Cannon-Butler Family Reunion last August because from my mother's side of the family we are related.
Now this was exciting for me, because I had not met these cousins of ours. I had met Tony and Sheila (Sheila is the blood related one), but not The Sisters, my mother's first cousins, nor any of the others of this side of the family I had only found out about after my family moved to Tennessee. I hadn't known my grandfather on my mother's side, and I had not known his side of the family. It turns out, they are black. So, I, pale and blue eyed, have a great grandfather who was known as "an upstanding negro of the community."
I have always, at least as far as I remember, been interested in knowing about my family history, and when we were first in contact with these knew-found relations, Cousin Kennetta sent us information about the family history. I was especially eager to meet her, because I am grateful for her picture albums and genealogy papers.
So we went to Massanutten to the family reunion. As we were getting to the building on the resort where we were to stay, I noticed a black family coming out of a building nearby. It occurred to me, "What if they were part of the family?" As I smiled, it struck me, "Isn't that the way to look at people?" That person, you know, the one on the street corner with missing teeth, might be related to you--IS related to you. So is that one, you know, the stranger in front of you, taking too long to unload her shopping cart. That one over there, you know the one that sits over there in the congregation always looking perfectly done up--that one too.
Anyway....a bit more closely related than that one, are the cousins we met. Oh my word, it was so exciting! I spent most of the time with "the Sisters" which was delightful. Cousin Kennetta told us stories and showed the albums and picture board. Cousin Donald, who organized the event, was agreeable to take Joshua around where they went. Some went to the water park, we ate meals together, played games--it was so wonderful.
It warmed me so much, one time when we were sitting around eating (I actually think Peggy was doing something by the sink, cleaning or preparing food) but Naomi was mentioned, she being absent, and Cousin Janie just exclaimed, "I love that girl!" It still makes me smile, almost a year later, recalling that.
Towards the end, I enjoyed taking a walk with Buttons (one of the
Sisters) and Tomika and Elizabeth. We talked a bit, the weather was
lovely, and we found a shortcut back that was probably not supposed to
be used. It was chained off at the closer end.
Adventure. Family. You cannot ask for a better way to spend a week of summer.