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July 9, 2009

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if family reunions were not just annual events? Obviously there are no laws on the books prohibiting extended family members from gathering more than once per calendar year, but at some point in time the tradition came down the pipeline relegating these functions to lengthy intervals.

Perhaps it dates back to the Pilgrims. Who could blame these folks for not wanting to get back on the boat to travel to see the European cousins? But with our modern travel advancements, it seems like someone would propose an amendment to the reunion bylaws that would allow us all to shorten the time between fond farewells.

Believe it or not, this is being written post reunion after the completion of the ninth annual Fourth of July Festivus in Memphis. Im not caught up in the pre-reunion hype that Ive heard can evaporate after spending extended time with 101 long-lost relatives.

I realize there is some logic to the annual tradition. Travel costs would be a definite concern. I know in our example, there are folks that come to my wifes family reunion from both coasts and everywhere in between. If the Myers/Kutzner clan decided to meet twice a year, there would be more plane tickets to purchase and additional gasoline bought to fuel the vehicles to drive from Chicago, Springfield and Columbia.

Unfortunately with this crew, insurance premiums now appear to be a cost concern as well after yet another wildlife encounter involving a fast moving vehicle. We have tried altering departure times to no avail so the next step may be installing cattle guards on the front of all vehicles leaving for home. We are currently in negotiations with local auto body work providers, seeking an annual reunion repairs contract. There is even talk of some possible Festivus sponsorship rights going to a local body shop.

If that advertising deal is big enough to offset the travel costs, well have to consider timing for a second get together. Festivus has always been held in conjunction with the Independence Day holiday. While tradition is key, Im sure there are a few folks that would gladly accept a non-firecracker option for future dates. Apparently there is something about TNT-wielding juveniles that makes some Festivus followers a bit nervous.

The patriarchs will point out these youngsters are simply following in the footsteps of their parents, without whom we would not have one of the most entertaining sky shows in the state year after year. Inevitably the future of our fireworks shows is still put in doubt as one of the next generation of pyrotechnic technicians faces the gallows after dumping a brick or two of firecrackers into the fire pit scattering all of his former supporters.

Fortunately the Myers farm is located outside city limits, meaning fireworks can be part of any celebration, regardless of the calendar date.

I guess that is good news for the makers of burn creams not to mention the local emergency room. Perhaps there are some additional sponsorships out there from Neosporin, Band Aid or Aflac supplemental insurance not to mention all of the local fireworks stands. The latter insure that when we come home with an over-heaping carload of the pyrotechnics every year, we always are able to utter the disclaimer we are not exactly sure how much they cost, but they were quite reasonable.

Once we settle on the date for Festivus II, well have to establish the place. The Myers farm graciously hosts the annual feast, not to mention many of its guests. It only seems fair to spread the wealth. Fortunately Im safe, since my house is in town and would be subject to the pyrotechnic prohibitions that accompany any second date.

Ill wager this will be the toughest task of expanding the get together schedule. No one else can offer plentiful fishing, multiple card playing rooms, yard aplenty for volleyball, croquet, washers, wiffle ball, and a driving range, not to mention a swimming pool. Guess as the host with the most, they are stuck with us.

Perhaps the fact that it takes mom and dad nearly 365 days to recover from dealing with we masses is the true reason that reunions are held but once a year.