Fire up the grill, bring on the BBQ, shuck the corn and bake the beans! Summertime is a popular time for families to get together and I have just recently attended two family reunions (and have one more to go before the summer is over). It’s one of my favorite things about summertime, but it can also be a little stressful, especially if you are in charge of the gathering. I’ve learned a couple of tricks which I think make this easier on everyone.
1. First, if you can avoid it, don’t have it at your house. That just means you end up doing all the work and that’s no fun for you!
2. But don’t go to a restaurant either. That never seems to work for a crowd of more than 5 or 6 people. Choose a park, rent a house location or find somewhere “neutral” where the work can be easily shared.
2. Enlist help. People always offer “What can I do to help”? Take them up on it! Assign tasks: someone brings deserts, someone else brings vegetables, and someone else brings the sweet tea (I obviously only have experience with southern family reunions).
4. Think about the extra activities. Assign someone the task of managing the life jackets for the kayaks or getting the fishing rods out and ready. There is a job for just about everyone!
5. Lastly, make sure you have a couple of areas set up for small groups, so you don’t have 25 people gathering around one small picnic table. This will help organize people and keep conversations flowing.
Twenty-two of us got together for one of my familiy reunions this summer at a house we rented on Lake Lure. Several of us chipped in to rent the house, so that made it affordable. We picked Lake Lure, NC because it was a fairly central location and outside of my immediate family, everyone else could make it a day trip. We had family from Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. We made our meal pretty simple: we ordered BBQ from the Lake Lure Smokehouse and then we made everything else. We had corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, tomato and cucumber slices, and pasta salad. Watermelon, apple pie, pound cake and saltine toffee cookies for desert completed the menue.
This particular reunion was for decendants of my grandpartents. We had three generations represented this year. We ranged in age from 5 years to 84 years and ranged in height from 3′-4″ to 6′-7″. We had people all over the place: inside the house, out on the screened porch, and some down on the dock for the kayaks and the fishing.
Good food, good times, slight exhaustion….but so worth it!