Thursday, August 18, 2011


If I said "Togetherness" and asked you to tell me what that meant to you, how would you answer?

'Togetherness' was the August writing topic at one of my writers' groups. AND, togetherness is the focus of my Thatcher Family Reunion held the first weekend of August in Buffalo, Missouri.

2011 being our 29th family reunion, same time - same place, each reunion may seem similar, yet each has been uniquely different from year to year. The core of our family is siblings: one younger sister and four older brothers - with our spouses and children. Our toddler children and grandchildren attending the first reunion in 1983 are now grown, married and have children of their own.

Certainly we have added family with marriages and grandchildren. We have also lost family members to death and divorce. As my siblings live in several states, their children scattered even farther afield, our annual reunion has been the one reliable occasion for cousins to meet face-to-face, to show off new spouses or babies, to review family history and to share their life's dreams and accomplishments. People, non-family acquaintances are often surprised to learn that there has never been an argument or problem between attendees at any of our reunions. We, on the other hand, would be surprised and stunned by that type of behavior - We don't have time for such foolishness. Mostly, we hug, eat, play music, eat, swim, sing, talk, hug and eat some more. Members who do woodworking and crafts bring gifts of their talents, those who cook or bake bring their specialties, my brother-in-law edited and published a family magazine each year while those with musical talents, especially Roy and Roy, provide the beat for singing and dancing. There are horses to ride and goats admire, chicken eggs to gather and rabbits to pet; there is kite flying and fishing. there is a Jelly Bean train for children to ride in and a potato gun for adult-aged boys to shoot. We tried hay bailing and bottle-feeding calves; we donned straw hats or opened colorful umbrellas for hayless hay rides. One exciting year, a tornado swept through the farm upon our arrival. Everybody was scared but nobody was hurt so we became a laughing, cheerful clean-up crew of the downed trees and fences. One year the rain kept everyone under cover in the garage or the house, so we ran between the raindrops from one to the other. It is always hot in August. How hot is it? We sent our teenagers into town to purchase blocks of ice to float in the swimming pool. Reunions - Now that's Togetherness!

Yes, my writer's group met in August and a few members read their 'togetherness' story. I remember just two beside my own; one humorously described a family's first experiences camping while traveling across America and the other was a beautiful and romantic letter to a spouse. Mine was a sweeping essay of acknowledgement from the simple (Jack & Jill) to the cerebral (quantum theory) - or so I thought. But, I had to vote for the camping experience because it was the most impressive example of togetherness.

Everyone has at least one story on 'togetherness.'
What's yours? Tell me. I'd like to know.

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