I just went to a family reunion of sorts. My Dad lives in Tennessee, and this reunion thing was in rural Virginia, where he’s originally from, so this trip required flying to Nashville, then drive drive drive 5 hours to Virginia, spend the night in a hotel (a Hampton Inn, as a matter of fact, and kudos to Hampton Inn, very nice), then drive to the reunion thing, spend 3 hours there, then drive drive drive back to Nashville.
Here’s how it goes in the cars. In one car we have my Dad and me. In one car we have The Wife, The Sister, and The Stepmom. On the way there, Dad and I mostly talk about My Future, and Politics (which we are able to do without anyone getting angry and slamming the door, which is good because we are in a car) and The Sister and Her Future and also the rest of the family. This trip also included a stop at Cracker Barrel, a staple of any road trip in the South.
I asked Dad why there’s no booze at the family reunion. He said “Cuts down on fighting and shooting, I guess.” Makes sense.
My Dad’s 84 years old, so he’s the only surviving sibling. He joined the Army to become a pilot when he was 17 and so he left rural Virginia and went to Japan and Korea and Bangkok and Vietnam and Goose Bay, Labrador, and spent two weeks in Australia waiting for a part for his plane so it could be repaired that he still waxes rhapsodically about and about which we will probably never know the complete story. Anyway, a lot of the rest of his family still live within 20 miles of where they grew up. I don’t have a lot in common with them except that we all hate Florida State.
This is the view from where the reunion was held. There's a Dollar General and a cemetery, two features of any small Southern town.
Still, it was interesting talking to them and hearing stories about Dad as a kid, which usually involved he and a friend borrowing someone’s car, picking up a couple of girls, and disappearing for 2 or 3 days. It’s a good thing they didn’t have Amber Alerts back then or my Dad would be doing life in prison. Some of the stories involved people with names like Ziphead and Chubs. Chubs, Dad explained, “wasn’t fat or anything. We just called him Chubs.”
It was nice and everything, but it's good to be back home.