Last Saturday the Wilhelms had a Family Reunion. This came about because my cousin Colleen who lives most of the year in Thailand was in the States for a few weeks. She and her sister Lynnette were going to be in town for a couple of days and asked if any of us could maybe meet for dinner. Because of the resourcefulness of my cousin Keith a family reunion was pulled together on very short notice. So what was originally going to be dinner with a few of us became a reunion for all of us. What a treat for those of us that could attend!
Our family is relatively small and many of us still live within 20 miles or so of the original “Family Home” and yet to my knowledge this was the first-ever Wilhelm Family Reunion. I think it was pretty standard reunion stuff – we gathered at a local park and shared a meal and good memories. We were able to meet (or re-introduce ourselves) to spouses and children and grandchildren. Because the event was planned pretty hastily there were some family members that couldn’t join us. But there’s good news: we’re already planning another reunion for October 2011.
What struck me on Saturday was the feeling of belonging. We all share this common ancestry that is neither good nor bad or remarkable or dreadful. We’re just a bunch of regular people that happen to be related to one another and yet it was wonderful to be together and feel connectivity. Maybe for people that have frequent family reunions this is not that impressive but for me it was the first time that this many Wilhelms got together for something other than a funeral.
We shared stories. We reminisced. We looked back at the past by remembering grandparents and into the future by watching our children and grandchildren interact on one hot summer afternoon. And it was nice – it was more than nice. It was family.
My cousin Diane felt it was necessary to summon me to stand with her and several other cousins to compare our skinny legs (for the record mine are lean and muscular). She pointed out to everyone’s amusement that we had our Great Aunt Marie’s legs. Who knew that genetics could play such dirty tricks? I guess I never realized that I had inherited Aunt Marie’s “Olive Oyle-esque” legs. Talk about a birthright! What’s completely unfair to me is that I also inherited the Wilhelm nose – those cousins that share this trait can also feel my pain. Why couldn’t I have inherited my grandmother’s artistic ability? But instead, I got the LEGS and the NOSE. I’m just thankful that my wife has improved the gene pool for my kids and grandkids.
Today I’m also thanking God for all the Wilhelms – the ones that were with us on Saturday and the ones that couldn’t be there for whatever the reason. I’d like to think that there were some happy Wilhelms in heaven looking down on our gathering, too. They will always be with us in spirit. Thanks for the memories. And thanks for the legs Aunt Marie!