I sat upstairs on the phone, watching my cousin play tenderly with our family pet, Monster, the guinea pig. We overheard my parents laughing and saying something about next year we can play hide and seek. What?
“Get off the telephone and come down here and make hay while the sun still shines?” Dad shouted.
Knowing very well when my Dad meant business, we flew down the stairs. Mom and Dad had a serious look of concentration. I wondered what was up.
“Remember the family reunion games?” Dad questioned.
“Of course” we chimed.
“Well this year it’s Charades, and we need your input.”
My two siblings barged in the door and joined the conversation. Charades was not one of my favorites. I thought about the word and how this reunion and my dad’s family were indeed a charade.
Every year we all got together, grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and played some game attempting to bridge the gap. It never seemed to work, especially the last few years. My cousin had been living with us since her parents died and not one of the relatives had ever offered to help out. I hated them and this stupid charade.
They were always on a Sunday, even more of a mockery. We’d attend the “church service” and I felt that everyone was just pretending to be worshiping God. We always sat in the back; my cousin would grab my hand and squeeze it hard, bringing giggles. After “church” the drinking, eating and fighting would begin. I wondered if all families were so weird. I quietly said a prayer.
That Sunday, we piled in the van and headed for my uncles big mansion and 100 acre farm. Mom asked if any one had come up with a good charade idea. Every year the “game” had a twist. This year each family had to choose an “item” they would pantomime. How utterly stupid? Then it hit me.
“I’ve got one, THE BIBLE,”
First there was dead silence, then laughter. Dad and Mom thought it was perfect.
When we finally arrived, and parked our old van, I thought again about the charade people live. Here were my relatives all driving top of the line, expensive cars while we made it every year in what my brother affectionately called, our “ghetto ride”.
We piled out. Would this year be different? Maybe it was just me. I patted Dad on the shoulder. He knew the look and gave me a hug. Why did we come when it was obvious we didn’t fit in?
“Honey, remember that speck in your eye and let the logs go,” Dad quipped.
“Did you say let the hogs go!”
We laughed and headed up to the “big house” as we secretly called it. Mom carried her dish to pass and I lugged the picnic basket which also bugged me. They were so rich but we had to bring our own stuff.
Every thing proceeded as usual, until the games. When it was our turn, standing in front of everyone, Dad held up his fingers, someone spurted “two words” and the charade began. I wondered if anyone would guess.
As expected, things were not going well and I thought of one of Dad’s quips, the “natives are getting restless”. Then my cousin, who never went anywhere without her tote bag, pulled out her bible and started reading.
It took a few minutes but a memory must have entered the mind of every single person there. My cousin’s parents had died in the mission field. There had been turmoil ever since.
The relatives had never understood why Mary, my dad’s sister “ran off” with that preacher. We knew the whole story and a day didn’t go by without us saying a prayer for healing, forgiveness and grace in the extended family.
Finally a younger cousin shouted “is it the Bible”?
All of a sudden it got quiet and I felt a cool breeze. Everyone stared crowding around us, some just talking, some crying, and a whole lot of hugging and kissing. Money was being stuffed at my cousin and my parents. One of the Uncles held up the keys to his new van.
What was happening? I had goose bumps the rest of the day. I asked God to forgive me and couldn’t stop thanking Him. As we left, tired, grateful and still stunned, Dad started a game of charades. “One word” and we all shouted the answer, “GOD”!!!
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