Yep, it was Jacobson Reunion weekend, folks, and it was a doozy!
My branch of the family tree was in charge this year.
It’s a big job and there are BIG expectations in this family to make it a boatload of fun.
This is no potato-salad-in-a-park-pavilion reunion where you’re stuck sitting on a hard bench listening to Aunt Ancient read snoozy histories about dusty distant relatives.
No siree Bob, it’s a full-blow themed weekend of wild family shenanigans and this year was no exception.
The theme we chose was “Cinematic Spectacular!”
The concept came about exactly one year ago when my siblings, parents and I met at my house right after last year’s reunion to brainstorm about what to do and how to do it.
At first we were all in a stupor.
Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation.
Or the food and fun hangover.
Or perhaps it was that our heads were still spinning from the family reunion planning meeting that got a tad heated when certain outspoken relatives had an ax to grind about dues payment and whose turn it was.
(It isn’t always fun and games.)
Anywho, we were chosen, motioned, and seconded so we were determined to rise to the occasion.
And rise we did.
My niece came up with the movie theme idea and as we fleshed out the concept into the schedule of activities I had a grand vision: a man wearing a gold full-body unitard standing on a pedestal and holding a staff as family members walked the red carpet into a family movie premiere night.
I laid my vision out before my family and they all agreed upon its awesomeness. We quickly voted on who would be the golden daddy of the reunion: the brother-in-law who wasn’t there to rebuttal. He was also chosen because he’s a lean mean military-trained machine and as I looked around at our options I wanted to ensure I had a chiseled Oscar statue rather than a golden Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
For a year we’ve planned, organized, and carried out and it all came together last weekend in a fabulous full weekend of fun.
Friday night we featured a “drive-in” movie. People parked their cardboard cars, camp chairs, blankets, and pillows in the lodge to watch Wreck-it Ralph projected up on a blow-up screen. We filled up on popcorn and candy before we headed to our tents to freeze our buns off through an unusually cold summer night.
But bright and early Saturday morning our buns warmed up quickly with a “Hollywood Workout” session taught by my sister who is a fitness trainer at Gold’s Gym. She worked our cores and carcasses like crazy and two days later it still hurts to laugh or cough.
We begged our other brother-in-law to please, please, pleeeeeaase put on a fro wig, sequin tank top and striped booty shorts to play Richard Simmons at the workout, but he refused. “Hey, I dressed up like hot dog last year, so I’m out!”
The Family Wiener had a point, so we let him off the hook.
We played a movie trivia Jeopardy game, took naps, fished, golfed, and played in the river the first part of the day before we ramped the theme into high gear later in the day.
Each family unit was assigned a movie genre before the reunion and they were to prepare a movie scene from the genre to be filmed and shown at our Saturday night movie premiere and “Academy Awards” event. I spent the afternoon filming the creative creations while a panel of judges watched to choose award nominees and winners.
Some of the scenes were very well thought out and prepared with costumes, stunts, choreography, songs, lines, etc., and some were more “indie” style, but all were lots of fun.
Jason and my brothers-in-law created a killer stunt set using fencing tape and poles, mini tramps, tables, a bounce house and a Luv Sac where kids jumped, crawled, bounced, leaped and flipped over and over until they were completely beat.
No matter how cold it got, we made sure all the kids would sleep through the night.
The evening kicked off with a “Black Tie Banquet” prepared by my super amazing Aunt Cheryl and Great Aunt Liz and their families complete with homemade rolls and a tender cut of meat topped with secret sauce that was to die for.
They are truly “Caterers to the Stars!”
Then it was premiere time. We watched the big screen where our relations transformed into cowboys and Indians, black market weapon lords, dancers, singers, spies, suitors, directors and producers.
My cousin pieced together an awesome “Jacobson Reunion” movie trailer spoof using clips from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Mr. Bean, A Few Good Men, and even a session of Congress to portray the sometimes controversial family reunion meeting.
All I can say is, “Eat your heart out, Hollywood!”
Then it was time for Oscar’s debut.
My brother-in-law walked out holding his gold staff and stepped up on a stool in his gold unitard and didn’t move a muscle for a good twenty minutes (except when a cousin gave him an inappropriate squeeze and he took a swing at him with his staff).
Oh, you should have seen everyone’s faces!
I was lucky enough to be standing at the front looking out at everybody when he walked out and took his position. It was worth every bribing promise I had to make to get him to do it.
He was the hit of the night—the reunion!
Oh the laughter, the faces, the photos that took place as I gave away awards for “Best Actor,” “Best Stunts,” “Best Picture” (to the movie trailer, of course) and so on, as award recipients came up to get their Oriental Trading plastic trophy and snap pics with Oscar.
Andy held so still my mother was worried he couldn’t breath and he was locking his knees and would pass out. My sister assured her that all his military training as a soldier had prepared him for just such an occasion.
“And the Oscar for ‘Best Performance as an Oscar’ goes to . . . Oscar!”
To top off the night, my aunt set up a chocolate fondue fountain with trays of dipping treats for the “after party” on the patio.
What a night! What a weekend!
It was all sooooooo awesome!
The official family meeting was even civil this year as dues were discussed and assignments made for next year.
It was A LOT of work, but A LOT of fun.
I love my family!
I love that my family is “all in.”
Thank you for wearing gold unitards, wiener costumes, Hawaiian shirts, pirate hats, cheerleader skirts, and redneck coveralls. Thank you for folding napkins like black bowties, sewing family flags, and tying memory quilts. Thank you for baking homemade rolls, cookies and brownies, making homemade buttermilk syrup and sourdough pancakes, smoking meat for hours and hours, and setting up a chocolate fondue fountain. Thank you for hauling trailers across miles, sleeping out in the cold, staying up late to play cards, taking turns doing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, and watching kids. Thank you for making up silly skits, singing cheesy campfire songs, and bringing s’more supplies. Thank you for big laughs, crushing handshakes, engulfing hugs, embellished stories, and pig-headed opinions.
Thank you for 34 years of memories.
My 19-year-old nephew said it all, “Now that I’ve seen my dad in a full body gold unitard, I don’t think I can ever look at him the same.”