My dad’s side of the family has a family reunion tradition that can’t be touched. Primarily because it’s called the FamiLEE Reunion (a play on our last name), but the food and incredibly good company doesn’t hurt.
Everyone brings something potluck-style, and sweet tea and lemonade are provided by the host family. Fried chicken is a staple. It can be homemade, from KFC or Popeye’s, it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s more than enough.
Deviled eggs are also a staple. Mom made spinach-and-something-deviled-eggs-with-something this year that were delicious and added a little interest to the normal recipe with paprika sprinkled on top.
Mom also made a key lime pound cake which sat proudly on its pedestal over the myriad other desserts.
Dad got called out by the elders for being first in line (which is probably why he was already done with lunch when I took this picture).
This photo is blurry, but you get the idea of the length and density of the food table.
After lunch, speeches and family updates, I tried to get Grandpa (the youngest of his siblings) to organize the rest of his siblings for a picture. Chaos, as usual, ensued.
Briscoe wandered away before we were done and begrudgingly wheeled back…
We added the spouses…
But Virginia and Marion Lee were cut off…
So we got to eat good food, visit with good family and got my Grandpa, his brothers Tom and Briscoe, his sisters Virginia and Lucy, and all their spouses in one photo. All in all, a very successful FamiLEE Reunion.
Next year it’s our family’s turn to host …
A few weeks ago I was blindsided by a song while driving to Jessie’s to help haul stuff to her new apartment. By the time I had parked, I had to rub the goosebumps off my arms, wipe the tears that had welled up under my eyes and collect myself before getting out of the car.
Sure, other songs make me nostalgic. I Saw the Sign brings back images ofdancing in Rebecca’s bedroom in 3rd grade. Hey Girl conjures up the summer Jessie and I spent in Blacksburg between junior and senior years of college. And of course Enter Sandman makes me jump uncontrollably every single time I hear it.
But this song (Just Fishing by Trace Adkins) makes me want desperately to be young, carefree, barefoot and completely dependent on my dad again. It makes me want to rewind and be 7 years old on the beach in North Carolina casting Dad’s giant surf fishing rod into the waves.
I can’t imagine how nostalgic it would make me if I didn’t still fish with my dad. If Dad didn’t still rummage in the garage to find me a suitable rod and make sure it’s rigged and that I have something to bait the hook with. I’m sure Dad feels the same way.
I have a terrible urge to go fishing with my Pops now. I also can’t help but wonder what little girls do with their dads if not go fishing. Make them play tag? I don’t know, fishing works for me. So does gearing up in wetsuits for a jetski ride on cold water.
While I can’t complain about having a week off of work to spend at the beach, I will say that Hugh and I were less than thrilled when the 10 friends who had inhabited our giant house left us mid-week.
That afternoon we had about 45 minutes of beach time before thunder storms rolled in and forced us inside for less than entertaining daytime TV and afternoon naps. We eventually got up the motivation to go see a movie (Bad Teacher), came back and made dinner from the remnants of various friends’ shopping trips, ate dinner, watched more bad TV, and slept again. Ah, the joys of vacation.
The next day we were determined to have an adventure, so we drove a few miles over to Roanoke Island to see some history and take in some sights. Roanoke Island was the infamous site of the “Lost Colony,” a group of settlers who went inexplicably missing within three years. It is also where the first American child, Virginia Dare, was born. This is a monument to her:
Sometime after settlers came back, they built a fort to defend against the Spanish. I’m pretty sure it’s call Fort Raleigh.
It’s pretty much just earthworks with a flag in the middle, but I’m sure it did the trick at the time.
Roanoke Island is also home to the country’s longest-running outdoor production, a play about the Lost Colony called, “The Lost Colony.” Andy Griffith got his acting start in the production, and lives on the island to this day. It’s actually in an outdoor theater in front of this building, which I apparently don’t have pictures of.
When we were bored of the Lost Colony — approximately 30 minutes later — we took a last minute left turn and parked it in Manteo for the afternoon. We walked across the bridge to Manteo’s Waterfront Festival Park, declined to pay $8 to see the museum, make believe Indian Village, and recreated ship Elizabeth II, and walked back.
We took in the sights at Manteo’s tiny waterfront full of boats, restaurants, inns, shops and boutiques…
And ran into this little guy (who I’m convinced is a fox pup).
We spent the rest of the afternoon (and week) with some family that happened to be staying less than a mile down the road from us:
When I say family, I mean they’re not related by blood but they are family. They’re my godparents (my parents’ best friends) and their parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, nieces and nephews. And they were just wonderful to include us in their fun for the rest of the week.
I’m sad vacation is over. On to planning the next trip!