|It's a serious time at the beach|
In a few short weeks the Schwartzes we’ll be getting together for our annual reunion. It’s me, my sister, brother, their spouses, kids, and one grandson.
My mother originally organized this tradition in 1982, and the only time we cancelled was the year she died. Today her grandkids are grown, and all are scattered about, but everyone tries to make it into New Smyrna for our one week reunion at the beach.
It’s easy. We all take condos in the same building and run in and out of each others' kitchens like we were next door neighbors during the fifties. And all we do is talk.
A few grab the boogie boards and head for the water, but most wander in one direction or another for our morning walk on the beach. These walks are good. They're great. We save up the best stories--the most lurid, odd, crazy tales from the past year to entertain the others. But these are only the initial fare. We got another walk in the afternoon, and talk at dinner, after dinner, and the walks the next day and the one after that.
|My daughter Barb and me|
But we don't want to overdo. By one, the group--about a dozen of us--surrounded by chips, crackers, cookies, fruit, and granola bars, is starving and orders are taken for lunch. My sister, sister-in-law, and I receive the emphatic requests—either tuna—with egg or without, PB&J—creamy or chunky, an extra hard boiled egg, or white bread instead of wheat.
Since nobody writes anything down, and everyone's yelling over the din, we usually screw up. Good thing somebody trades in the end, and everyone’s happy—or at least satiated for another hour or two.
By three o'clock most of us have had enough humidity and trudge upstairs for our showers and necessary naps. The sun sure knocks us out, we say, aware of the deadline looming ahead. In three or four hours we have to get dressed and go for dinner. My mother used to make these big dinners, but nobody volunteers to cook. "Yeah, the meals were great," we agree, climbing into our cars, hoping they'll hold our reservations a few more minutes.
|Eating for a change|
After a huge feast somewhere, we complain we're too full as we head back to the condo with the most seating and the largest flat screen TV. There we talk and play Wii. Yes, we're getting tired, but it's a major effort to get up and go to bed. The younger ones are still going strong, but it’s the oldies, the ones who remember where they were when JFK got shot, who are ready to fold.
“So what happened with your friend’s divorce?” I ask my sister-in-law.
“Sorry. Saving it for the beach walk tomorrow.”
The look of disappointment crosses all of our faces, but a good story’s to be savored, and we all know we'll have to wait.
Wonder what happened? I think, heading to the bed. Another beach walk, another day in the sun. Nothing like our family reunions.