McGee: Missing family gathering means missing out on stories

I got a phone call the other day. It seems there was this big family get-together planned on the Fourth of July. The caller complained they didn't want to go. It seems they were on the outs with another family member.

"Well it would seem that if you really don't want to go you shouldn't go," I said. What else could I say? And the call ended.

"What did they decide?" asked The Lady of the House.

"They're not going," I said.

"Boy," said The Lady of the House. "In our day we didn't have a choice. We had to go. Wasn't that the way it was in your family?"

"Well, yeah." I said.

"You were told it was family, you would go, you wouldn't complain or embarrass anyone," she said. "Besides, it gave you grist for the mill."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"You could always look at the photos later and talk about them," she said. "You know, 'Can you believe Aunt So-and-So wore her wig?'"

"Like the time we had a big family picnic at a state park," I said. "My dad conned my cousin Dave into letting him ride his motorcycle. Dad missed a turn and went flying through the air. My mom looks up and says, 'Oh my, there's your father flying through the air.'"

"Sure," said The Lady of the House giving me a sideways look.

"Or the time cousin May brought her fiance' to a family thing at a park and they got in a big fight and he left with some girl he met in the parking lot," I said.

"Oh dear," said The Lady of the House.

"Yeah," I said, "Good times, good times."

"See?" she said, "They missed out on all those memories, things that people would talk about to each other for years.

"After all, isn't that what family's all about?"

Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at:

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