The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: Family Reunions - A Time to Circle The Wagons

Greetings as we approach the end of July 2008. The lazy-hazy days of summer are now upon us and oh, where has the summer gone to, thus far.

By now, in years of old, we surely had our second cutting of hay up and was strong on bean walking as well as some of the corn that needed it.

We sure enough did not have corn all tasseled out at this part of the year, in those days.

Walking crops to harass and destroy weeds fulfilled our need for exercise and it don't seem like we had as many overweight farmers as we do now-a-days.

Some of the folk I know these days "look like two tomcats fightin' inna' gunny sack" (a bulging and a moving all over).

July and August was and is always the time for family reunions, in our clan.

Actually, we have three family reunions each year. The first one begins late June, the weekend nearest Great Grandfathers birthday on my Grandmother's side.

Next in July comes the reunion on my mother's side-last weekend of the month. And finally in August we finish up with father's side of the family. This one has gone on continuously since the 1920's.

The food in days of old at these reunions was home cooked, plentiful and ever so good. Now a days some bring food what was prepared at a deli or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Times change and where the food comes from makes no never mind. What matters is that we continue to gather, fellowship, and strengthen our bonds as a family.

Much visiting goes on as we gather and women folk prepare the plates of food. When it is proper time, we gather holding hands, in a large circle to begin the event with prayer.

After proper prayer has been said, giving thanks for the food and asking God's blessing on our strength in his service, and on our family, we finish the meal.

Most generally we eat too much, but enjoy ever bit of it. Some bring "fox-huntin' coffee" (good and strong) and others bring mild to sip on and help keep us awake, inspite of our full bellies, for what always comes next.

After proper care is put to food and utensils, we "circle the wagons".

An elder relative will call out "Its time to circle the wagons". This is after everyone has had sufficient time to jaw and visit on matters of casual importance such as: how the crops are doing, politics, the economy, how the latest babies are doing, etc, etc.

Circling the wagons involves everyone gather in a circle, seated on lawn chairs or resting on the ground. Young and old alike, listening intently and learning of family connections. Starting with the oldest first we tell of family history. Sometimes we intentionally pick out a specific time period such as during the war years or the Depression or maybe when we were first married. The young learn first hand of their heritage directly from the lips of the older generation. Sometimes one brother tells a story on another, which brings back memories for an even better long forgotten story. Nobody dares stretch their story as there are plenty of witnesses there to set them straight.

For me, I feel a personal relationship, thru these stories by circling the wagons, with family that were long dead before I was ever born. Now its my job to pass the stories along accurately to the next generation as well. Minutes are kept of the stories and they can be reviewed back a long ways.

Ifn' you are not have'n family reunions maybe it's time to start or restart the tradition and preserve some of your family heritage. You'll never start it any younger and it beats watch'n the grass grow or being glued to the tube!

Catch ya later

Barnyard Bruke