Aunt Sara, who couldn't talk without her hands, was telling everyone at the table about an incident at church, “So, everyone ...,” she made a wide sweep with her arm hitting a stack of dirty plates.
“Look out!” Aunt Mary jumped up stretching out to catch them. I covered my ears against the impending crash.
“Sorry!” Aunt Sara cried, she started up also.
“I got 'em,” Aunt Mary declared just as she collided with Aunt Sara. With a clatter and thud, she and the plates hit the floor; Aunt Sara sprawled on top of the mess.. I bit my lip to keep from laughing at them.
It was September 1984 and we Reed's were having our annual reunion. This year it was at Grandma and Grandpa Reed's big, old, farmhouse. Most of the time was spent cooking and eating in the huge kitchen, visiting all the while. No one was in a hurry to leave the large table. The younger ones had eaten at the smaller table and were already outside. It was their dirty dishes that Sara knocked from the large table where the kids stacked them when they left.
“Thank God for CorelleWare, none broke.” Grandma had long ago quit using china plates when family came. “Mary, Sara, are you girls okay?”
“Yes, Grandma. I'll have a bruise or two but I'll be fine. Let's make sure the kids stack their dishes away from Sara from now on. Sit here Grandma, so we can hear the rest of the story. Go on Sara, tell the rest.” Aunt Mary hugged Grandma as she sat down.
“I am fine also” Aunt Sara said, telling the rest of the story without mishap. We were all laughing when she finished.
“Come on guys, let's go see what the kids are doing and get a game of touch football going.” Uncle Dale put his jacket on as he spoke.
“Yeah,” agreed Uncle John, “You comin' Rantz? Dad?”
“Yeah, I'll be out soon as I beg for another piece of pie.” Rantz held his plate out to Grandma as he spoke.
“You get out! No more pie till supper time.” Grandma hit him with her dish towel. “Two hours at the table with you men is enough.” Smiling, she kissed Grandpa as he left.
The rest of our time was spent enjoying each other. At the end of the day we were tired, full of good food, and happy.
I remember September1984 best; Grandma died that year. Grandma was the glue that held the family together. The one that grounded us in the love of God, family, and helping others. It was at her insistence that each family plan and execute one charitable event each year. She was given a complete record of what it was and how it was done. My Uncle Dale was a preacher year round, but he wasn't exempt from doing the event. We had no idea what she did with the reports until we were cleaning out the big house. In her cedar chest, kept locked through the years, were photo albums with all of the events carefully filed by family and year. She had added her notes to each one about the changes she had seen in that family as they worked on the project.
“What a treasure! Auntie, can I see the year 1980? Please!” That was the year I had planned the charitable event.
“Yes, Becka, here it is,” Aunt Sara handed it to me.
I couldn't wait to open it to see what she had written. My dad, Rantz, had said I done a great job, but I wanted to see what Grandma thought.
I think Becka showed great improvement this year. She has matured in her knowledge of God and His Word. This project was a hard one, doing a Vacation Bible School from start to finish with no help except her family. She did a fine job that most fourteen year olds could not do. I am proud of her!
What a great legacy for us. Her comments would keep her memory alive for all of us.
I decided right then, that I would be the one to carry on the yearly family reunion, giving each family their charitable event, then with Dad's help at first, write the comments for future Reed's to enjoy.
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