I spent 22 hours in the car this weekend.
Yeah, you know you’re jealous.
My mom and I went to a family reunion in South Dakota. Did you know that in South Dakota, the speed limit on 2-lane highways is 65? And on the interstate, it’s 75? That right there is reason enough to move to the more tropic of the Dakotas.
Plus, the gas station we stopped at had freakin’ FULL SERVICE. The cutest boy in a high school football t-shirt pumped our gas. He was so clean-cut and adorable. I just wanted to make him a sandwich. This might also have been due to the fact that I was delirious with relief at finding a gas station, as I hadn’t been paying attention to the fuel gauge on my mom’s car and noticed after about 9,000 miles that the red light was on.
Obviously, it was an action-packed weekend.
This was a family reunion where I didn’t even find out who was going to be there until I was en route. It was the descendants of my great-great grandparents. Basically, I knew my aunts and my mom’s 3 cousins. Everybody else, I didn’t know from a can of paint.
But people are kind, and it takes a special breed to either open your farm to strangers who are family, or to travel way out of your way to see family – or meet them for the first time.
I enjoyed spending time with my mom and my aunties. I got a kick out of their cousins, 3 brothers who were clearly up to no good and old enough to know better. And I loved watching the wheels turn as the group tried to decipher spotty genealogical information.
One relative had 2 kids who were 2 months apart in age. Sadly, my fantasy of him having multiple wives simultaneously didn’t pan out. He just adopted his second wife’s kids from her first marriage. Except that my mom and the aunties remembered the second wife, who lived with them while she was going to beauty school, and there weren’t kids around. Or maybe she was the third wife?
Then, there was our host, who was the surprise baby of his family. “Mom was 45 when she had me, and dad was 55,” he said, eyes bright. “She said she cried for 2 weeks when she found out she was pregnant. I have nephews who are older than me.”
I discovered that my auntie and I are foot twins. Our feet look exactly alike. Surely this information will come in handy some day.
And then, there were the photos. Can you tell the difference between Neva and Laura? Which one is which? And just look at Granny!
My mom leaned across the photos and whispered conspiratorially to me and the aunties. “I just can’t get over the boobs! You had to wear a belt to keep ’em above your waist!”
I laughed. “Yeah, they’re all very … bosomy.”
My mom straightened up. “I just remember Granny and all the ladies as being really soft and cushy.”
I considered genetics and my own NASA-engineered over-the-shoulder boulder holder. I sat up straighter and said a silent prayer to Saint Nordstrom, patron of big-boobied ladies and my personal savior. Then, I realized that high speed limit or no, I couldn’t live in South Dakota, so far from the Nordie’s lingerie department.
It was a good weekend, full of discovery.