Traditional American Family is Becoming Even More Rare
By Rowe Smith.As I read the article my heart grew heavy. In the eighty-two years I have trod this earth I have been a witness to this sad happening. First a trickle then a torrent as families moved apart like the universe after the big bang.. I remember the thrill of a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s in a wagon across the seemingly endless Blue Bench. Once there we visited and reminisced over what had happened down on the farm.
"Yeh Pa, old Nell had her colt, we had four new calves this spring. How’r you doen?"
"I sold my sheep Jes, Ma and me are thinken of buyen one of them Fords this fall."
"That’s neat, we sore wish we could afford one. We did save up enough to buy one of them radios things though. Hell Pa you should listen to the stuff they have on them radios now."
Come Sunday dinner, the table is stacked with Grandma’s stewing hen, or maybe it’s baked and stuffed turkey, surrounded with wonderful fresh vegetables from the garden. Uncles and aunts with hoards of kids like me show up for dinner and family chatter. When the uncles and aunts and kids grew beyond available chairs, Grandpa would go to the granary and fetch a big board, which he supported, on each end with a chair. Kids would rush onto the board like a line of crows on a fence.
Family reunions were always up in the mountains. We got there mostly with team and wagon. The better off ones arrived in chugging old cars often held together with bailing wire. We could see a car coming up the grade down yonder. It arrives, the engine burps a couple of times and stops. The old tires squash down with the load of happy family swarming over with screams, laughter and greetings before Uncle Henry and Aunt Samantha could even get out.
There’s the clang of a horseshoe against a peg with screams of "It’s a ringer!" Of to one side Aunt Freda is trying to round up the kids for a sack race. She is running after Courtney and grabs him by the shirt collar, to bring him back. The rest she had gathered is now down to three girls. Streams of back ends are seen running through trees. She puts her hands on her hips, spits on the ground, turns Cart loose and comes back to help pitch tents.
Grandpa rings a bell and the tables are swarmed with hungry humanoids rushing to find a place. Some of the teens have maneuvered to sit together. Unimaginable amounts and variations of food almost beyond belief. Everyone brought loads of everything to eat and enough pies, cakes, and other deserts to feed an army troop.
Fun, sure all that was fun, good family fun. Today we talk about getting together for family dinners and realize it is to far to drive, besides we can’t take that much time off work. We hardly know some of our uncles and aunts, certainly not great uncles and aunts. Kids? Good grief we hardly know how many and no idea of names.
Now reunions, if possible to organize, must be in a park with hotel or motels available. Preferably with a swimming pool and good restaurant. Many arrive in elegant campers pulled in by handsome recreational four wheelers. Sleep in a tent? Unthinkable! Cook on a campfire? Well, maybe wieners and marshmallows. Don’t let the kids play in that dirt!
It is difficult if not impossible to get even our own little families together for a family outing. Grandpas and Grandmas difficult, aunts and uncles even more difficult. Great grandparents, uncles and aunts, impossible. Who are they anyway? Someday I plan to do a bit of genealogy research. I often wonder who that guy is with the beautiful long white beard whose picture mother had on her dresser.
Good work Audree we all appreciate. And please if you have not RSVP'd Audree, do it now.