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faces reunited

August 11, 2011

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I can always count on my family.  I know that when I arrive at the Hardin County Fairgrounds on the first Saturday of August, come hell or high water, someone from my family will be there to greet me.  And they were. 

Yes, reader.  I am referring to the annual Schwartz Family Reunion.  (If you’d like a refresher on the who and the why, check out this post from a couple of years ago.) 

I used to dread the family reunion when I was growing up.  I enjoyed the trip out of town and staying at my Great-Aunt Agnes’ (not pictured – the one pictured is Great-Aunt Magdalene), but I was painfully shy and awkward.  Being thrown into a situation where everyone seemed to know each other and I barely remembered any of them was unnerving, especially because I felt as though I was expected to remember everyone.  Still my parents made me go almost* every year. 

I could always count on seeing many of the same faces at the reunion year after year.  Those faces grew more and more familiar, as did the names but it took a bit longer to put the correct name with the proper face.  Figuring out how all those faces and names were related to me was even longer in coming.  (I still have to ask my dad from time to time who belongs to what branch of the family tree.)  I may never retain all of that who-belongs-to-whom information but it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is those faces loved me.  They engaged me in conversation each year, asking how old I was, what grade I was going into, and how the previous year had been.  They smiled at me when I sat quietly on my grandparents’ laps taking in the stories being shared.  They helped me fish down at the pond.  They laughed from afar when they saw me and the other cousins splashing each other at the other end of the pond.  They saw me go from a chubby-cheeked toddler to an awkward teenager to a feisty young woman, much like her grandmother and great-aunts, and I could always count on them just being there. 

My parents don’t force me to go to the reunion any more.  I go of my own accord.  I go to see those faces with whom I now have strong relationships.  I go to engage them in conversation and to smile at the little ones sitting with their parents or grandparents.  I go because I love my family, collectively and individually.  I go because I know those faces count on being reunited with me once a year just as much as I do them.   

They were there, reader, those faces of family members I love so dearly.  They were there to greet me on Saturday when I rushed into the building at the fairgrounds looking for Rosario so we could sneak away and grab a latte before lunch.  I can always count on being reunited with my Schwartz family once a year.  That I know and how I love them for it!

Just a few of the faces…

*I missed several reunions in middle school to attend a summer camp and a few others that my parents didn’t attend either.

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