Then a determined woman married into the family and decided the bad blood had boiled long enough and decided to plan a reunion to bring the family back together.
The “Jacobson Family Reunion” was born. It has been an annual summer ritual for 33 years now.
Family reunions have been both praised and poo-pooed and can be fabulous family fun or pain under a pavilion. I’ve experienced much of both in my life.
There is nothing worse than sitting on a hard picnic table eating warm potato salad while listening to a line-up of ancient relic relatives warble reminiscent histories over a static PA system on a blistering summer afternoon.
But the “J” Reunion is one of the good ones. So good, in fact, that relatives will travel long distances and use precious vacation days to attend this annual 3-day family fest. So, what’s the secret to it’s long-running success?
We got game.
The J’s got game in the way that we are game for anything. Whether it’s pulling panty hose over our heads and wrapping up in toilet paper as part of a relay race, skipping around a maypole as a nod to our European heritage, wearing pirate garb for a seaward sing-a-long, blacking out our teeth and sporting mullet wigs and overalls for a redneck square dance, or catching sling-launched rubber chickens in hula hoop-waisted pants, there is nothing too silly or stupid for us to do in the name of family solidarity.
There’s something about gathering in the woods to do ridiculous activities together that builds unity and strengthens bonds.
So, if your family reunions are lack-luster pavilion pot lucks, you might consider letting down your guard and hiking up your pants for a humorous imitation of Uncle Orville’s Vaudeville routine post-hip replacement.
After all, the family that acts crazy together stays together.