Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Kinzie Reunion

When I was a child, a family reunion would not have been my choice as a way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The first one I attended was likely a Garst gathering on a Saturday or Sunday The most dreaded activity was the first one, the huggy/kissy line. It was a gauntlet receiving line where aunts and a grandmother plastered slobbery welcome kisses on all who arrived. There was no avoiding it, parents made certain it was done. We endured it and then went on to more interesting activities such as inspecting the food selection which was being placed on long tables. The Garsts always had theirs around Christmas. It was a large family of mostly girls and was held every year without fail.

(in picture the primary Kinzies: Bill, Mike, John & Mary)

Fast forward a decade and I had married into the Flory family. Another large family where the girls outnumbered the boys. I the oldest in my family married the youngest in her family. It was a mature family and traditions were well set before I came on the scene. Their reunion was always around choice Christmas weekends. Lib and I may have attended a few more Garst reunions but not many. A new focal point demanded allegiance. Since my immediate family was all boys and one girl and I was the oldest, there just wasn’t a convenient time when we might have put together a Kinzie reunion or so it seemed. I would complain to anyone who listened that families ought to share reunion times and not mandate that theirs were to be attended.. The Flory family advanced in age and eventually the next generations wanted their own gatherings and the Christmas event evolved into a summer event still attended by 30 or more representatives from the original family.

Somewhere along the way I discovered that there were some really huge reunions where several hundred convened. Seems there was a Harman gathering in West Virginia where over a hundred came together each year. Lib and I even attended a few Garber reunions. These were usually in the summer and they were quite large affairs.

A number of Kinzies attended Al Kinzie’s (the third brother in our family) funeral some years ago. A light went on in numerous heads. If we don’t plan ahead and make a date we’ll never get together. My baby sister had a wedding in her family a few years ago and many from our family attended. Would we only get together at weddings and funerals? Then, Lib and I moved to Richmond which is a centering hub. About a month ago my sister discovered that the brother directly up from her would be in town over New Years. The call went out over the Net. There’s going to be a family get together on Friday January 1 at her home in Crozet, Virginia. Christmas was over and there was this opportune time. Our Delaware family would also be in the area skiing.

So the most Kinzies from my own family finally had our reunion. It was a rare occasion which I fervently hope will occur again. It’s been long overdue. Kudus to the following:

Mary and Malcom and their families for setting a date and hosting the event.
Mike and son Dylan for being the reason for the date.
Jeff and Cathy for taking us there so we old folks didn’t have to drive.
Lisa and family for sharing part of their Christmas time with the rest of us.
For ALL who brought music and fiddled and strummed was great fun.
Rachel who sat beside her grand dad and talked photography and life.
Devin who played fiddle beside his grand dad (I was SO proud!!)
Dylan who played fiddle and made his Dad proud.
Leanne who looks forward to motherhood in the very near future.
Mark and Jeff, my two fine son-in-laws, who could probably think of a
dozen better ways to spend an afternoon.
Leanne for taking such fine pics of the whole reunion!

What a joyous, fun occasion it was! Food, festivities, and the warm glow that comes from learning once again what it means to be family. We began our reunion almost strangers. We ended knowing that there were common threads in our life experiences and expectations. Think we also have to give some credit to email and Facebook for incrementing the swiftness of our communication and so increasing the likelihood of bringing it all off.

Love ya all! From Bill Kinzie, the reigning patriarch of this branch of Kinzies.

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