Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Grady Bunch

We missed the last Grady family reunion -- I was eight months pregnant back in the summer of 2009 and wasn't up for an extended family extravaganza in an old, country cemetery (long story, but FYI, we Gradys love cemeteries). Afterwards, I had some regret about missing it, but then Nora was born and I was too distracted to care.

But this time was different. This time the I wasn't with child. This time there were going to be t-shirts. This time we were already in Iowa for the Fawcett Sweet Corn Fest.

So we went. I was a bit anxious as some of our childhood family gatherings didn't end well and recent ones had been a mixed bag (some were beautiful, but one involved a hospital visit after a quarters game went awry and another ended even worse), but I have to say, not only was there no bloodshed, it was the most fun I'd had in a while.

I got to hang out with my "little cousins" who are no longer little and, quite frankly, way cooler than me. Owen and Allen were able to field an entire baseball game -- they even got Grandpa Z and Uncle Dave to play -- and later drafted me for kickball. There was an all-hands volleyball game where Nora's godmother, Caitlin, was able to show off her middle-school team skills. Meanwhile, Nora spent the entire time with her little cousin Erin, you know, the other little curly headed blond girl.

There was a flat-uncle Loumen in shamrock boxers, and replications of childhood pics. There was homebrew, and talking dogs and family lore. There was an entire debate about which was the more seminal purchase of 1964: thrasher vs television. Heck, the earth even moved -- though it was later found to have been the foundation cracking from too many Grady's assembling for mass in Bernie's living room (though I prefer to attribute it to God's shock at Al being at church).

There was a lot of love, very little quiet, and a great deal of peace and contentment.

And most importantly, I finally got my Uncle Bernie t-shirt.

(Thanks to all of the Gradys -- particularly Pete and Bernie for organizing, Glen & Al for the t-shirts, Joyce for the pint glasses, Brandon for the beer, Kevin for "Cards Against Humanities," Cheryl and Blaine for providing party rooms, and everyone else for everything else. To see our pics, click here).

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