Recently my wife and I went out of town to attend a family reunion. Most of my family is from Charlotte, North Carolina and so we had to make the 10 hour drive to meet up with everyone. There were about 12 of us who went down from New Jersey to North Carolina.
Friday: Taking The Long Drive Down
Unfortunately, my brother was a little late getting to the meeting point so we ended up leaving almost 2 hours late, which caused us to run into two separate traffic jams on the way down. Because of that, everyone was extremely tired by the time we made it to the hotel in the evening.
Everyone told me that my eyes were so red that it looked as if I was high, and while some of my family members decided to go to my great aunt’s house, everyone encouraged me to get something to eat and then sleep. Because I don’t like to eat while taking long drives, I didn’t have anything that day until about 9 PM, and I went to sleep about an hour later.
Saturday: Pictures, Eating & Relationships
The next morning we woke up early because two of the major events of the family reunion weekend were to take place that day. My family rented a building in the middle of a park, where we proceeded to have a cookout, mingle with family members we hadn’t seen for a long time, and then watch a 90 minute slide-show, which my uncle had put together using close to 1800 photos of the family.
The original plans called for us to go to another venue in order to have a dance, however, not as many of the local family members attended the reunion as were originally expected, so they decided to tell the DJ to set up in the park and we held the dance in the building where all the other activities of the day were held.
I loved to see the span of generations within the family spending time with each other and laughing with each other! They were at least four generations represented in that one building, but we were able to see five overall during the weekend. I was able to spend a lot of time with family members that were both younger and older than me, and I pray that those relationships continue to grow throughout the years.
Sunday: Graves & Doughnuts
The original plans for that Sunday included going to the church that essentially started with my family members about 150 years ago, but we found out that Saturday that the congregation planned to worship at another church as part of a revival service. We decided that we would still go to the church in order to see the graves of many of our ancestors who were buried on the church grounds (we originally planned to do this after the service).
Of course, once we got to the church we realized that there had been a mix-up, and that they, in fact, were having service in their own building (we had to miss the service).
We were able to take a lot of pictures of the graves (some of the family members buried there were born in the 1840s!) and we also took a good number of family photos as well. Apparently, one of my great great great (I’m not sure how many greats to add to this) uncles donated part of his land in order for the church to be built.
So after leaving the gravesite we decided to go and look at some of the old land to see how it had changed from the memories of some of our older living relatives.
All We Could Eat!
Then, in true southern fashion, we went to an all-you-can-eat restaurant that seems to be pretty popular down there (the name was Golden Corral). There were only 26 of us who decided to go to the buffet, but we still managed to stay there for about three and half hours just eating, laughing, and talking.
What’s The Deal With Krispy Kreme?
What happened next really surprised me and I think it will stick in my mind for a very long time. My wife and I were riding in the car with two older cousins (they are actually both my father’s cousins) and the girlfriend of one of those cousins. The natives begin talking about the pleasure that can be found from eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut when it is warm and fresh out of the oven.
This wasn’t just one or two paragraphs worth of banter, or discussing a memory, but it was a conversation that went on for 10 minutes, and just the thought of one of these doughnuts seemed to bring sensual pleasure to the three people we were riding with!
They work themselves up into such a frenzy that they decided to break away from the caravan of cars that was driving back to the hotel, pull off the main highway, and pull into the parking lot of a Krispy Kreme. My cousin then went inside and talked one of the employees into giving him 4 dozen doughnuts fresh out of the oven a full 30 minutes before they were to be sold.
Just in case you forgot the sequence of events, let me remind you that we had just left an all-you-can-eat buffet, which served a full dessert, including a chocolate fountain!!! We then almost had an argument over the fact that I did not want to taste a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut because I had just come from an all-you-can-eat buffet. After about 5 minutes of going back and forth (I am not exaggerating one bit), I decided to try one, and even though it was the best doughnut that I have tasted, I am still in awe of the hold that these doughnuts had on my family.
Needless to say that once we got back to the hotel everyone else was extremely excited when they saw the four dozen (actually only 3 1/4 at that point) doughnuts come out of our car.
Spending Time With The Oldest Living Family Member!
We then went to spend time with my great aunt, who I believe is now the oldest living member of the family. I love getting to see her because she is so funny and spunky and she is great at cracking on people. So after another full day we all went back to the hotel and my wife and I ate leftovers from the previous days and also the free breakfast from the hotel.
Monday: Free Day In South Carolina
The next day a few of the family members left to come back home and the rest of us split up to do different things. My wife and I spent the day with my cousin and her husband, who live in South Carolina. We really click with them a couple of years ago and we try to spend time with them each time we go down.
My other cousin picked this up from the hotel and it took us more than an hour to get to our cousins house because she lives in the woods (is there anything else in South Carolina?) and we got lost. We spent the majority of the day there and didn’t get back to the hotel until close to 9 PM. My father and I then took my mother’s and sister’s cars to fill them up with gas so we wouldn’t have to make that stop in the morning.
Tuesday: More Driving
Because we had to pick up my great uncle from my great aunt’s house, we left about 40 minutes later than we had planned. We still managed to avoid the morning rush and we had a good start on our way back home. Unfortunately, my sister had a nail embedded in her tire, which caused a slow leak. And because of this, we had to make many stops on the way back home to fill it with air.
That caused us to fall a little behind schedule and then an accident which completely close down the major highway going back into New Jersey added about three more hours onto a trip.
We Had A Great Time!
Overall, we had a great time and we pray that we will be able to see our family more than just once a year. I enjoyed spending time with my family from Charlotte, however, I enjoyed even more spending time with my immediate family from New Jersey. I hope that this trip pushes us to spend more time with each other since we have each other, so close by.
It was nice being able to spend so much time doing nothing but building relationships with my family. We only usually get together for funerals, so this was definitely a welcomed change!
© 2013, Khaleef “Fat Guy” Crumbley. All rights reserved.