Monday, March 7, 2011

The Super Extended Family

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to explain this so "you," the reader understands.  I go to a family camp every summer.  I've been going my entire life, not quite 40 years, but quickly getting there.  The same people go at the same time every year.  Some are real family, quite a few of the people are somehow related to me.  Others that go are related to the others that are there every year.  I like to think we're all related by the common bond we know as camp.  Technically, I haven't really known all of these people for nearly 40 years, but most of the time, it feels like I've known them longer.  Everyone pretty much knows everything about everyone (say that 5 times fast).  I believe it's nigh impossible to keep a secret at camp.  It's just too hard, so don't even try.

This past weekend, we had our mid-year reunion.  It's about half way until we all go to camp in the summer.  It's a great way to catch up on what's happening with everyone during the year.  Travel is hard, but when you hear about a reunion, it almost doesn't matter how far you have to go.  It took us (my wife, my brother and myself) about 5 hours to get to PA.  Some came from a longer distance (NH and MA) and some live around the corner, literally.  Next year, I hope it will be closer to our home in RI, but it doesn't really matter.  As long as you have the weekend free, you go.

Thanks to technology, a lot of us keep in touch the entire year, but it's not the same as a face to face conversation.  The lunches and dinners are informal, just like at camp.  You eat when you want to, not because you have to.  Everyone brings a dish or two for the potluck.  New recipes and old standbys fill out the menu.  Many activities often happen, but the main one and the important one, is conversation.  Funny stories, current events, you name it, it all gets talked about.  The art of conversation is completely lost these days.  

Then you blink your eyes and the weekend is over.  This is often what happens at camp as well, unless it rains all week, then it feels like that week is a year.  Everyone goes back to their lives until it's camp time.  I honestly can't tell you when the camp reunions started.  I've been going to them since I was a baby.  It's a very welcome distraction and a great way to see the super extended family.  You get a little bit of camp and that helps you get through the remainder of the year.  It recharges your batteries a bit, until it's time for the longer visit at the lake itself.

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