Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Family Tradition

So I've been without internet for almost 3 full days, which has been a struggle not because I needed to do work or check email, but because I have SOO much that I wanted to share here.  So forgive me for telling this story a few days late, but it's so worth it.

You ever heard of wedding crashers?  The movie, the sport, whatever... This weekend, in the process of moving all my stuff to Georgia, I crashed a family reunion.  If you've seen the movie, this sounds really silly.  Why would anyone crash a family reunion?  Most people spend their lives trying to avoid family reunions.  So here's how it all happened.
My mom is from a combined family of seven kids.  She's the youngest, and her father had been married before, having four children before his wife passed away.  So...growing up, the whole family traveled annually to West, TX (this is a town, not a regional description) to the Hykel family reunion.  Now, my mother has no blood ties to the Hykel family, but her father was considerate enough to take his whole family every year, so that his first four children could see their mother's family.  Although I never met him, I imagine my grandfather was a pretty upright guy from these stories I know about him.

With six children still living, you can imagine how difficult it is to round up all the kids to see each other.  So this year, they got the brilliant idea that they should all meet up in West and go to the family reunion (including my mom and aunt who have a different mother).  Since West is conveniently on my sister's way back to College Station and semi-not-out-of-the-way for my trip to Georgia, we got to come along.  Keep in mind that NO ONE else's children went.  This is where the saga begins.

We arrived at the Czech Inn, which made quite a joke.  Are you at the "check-in" or the "Czech Inn"? The first thing we notice is all of the "No Pets Allowed" signs.  So my mom asks if it's alright if they stay in the car.  Actually, ma'am that's against Texas law and you can be fined if someone reports you.  However, it's a $250 fine if you bring one inside, too.  So, the pets (Duke and Kaiser) stayed in big comfy cages in the car.  Trust me, they're far from mistreated.  Breakfast included kolaches, which I mention because West is a historically Czech community (Czech Inn), and the bakeries have the greatest kolaches I've ever tasted.  Every time we drive through, we stop, and I'm not sure that didn't attract us to making this extra trek.  We ventured back up to Hillsboro for lunch at Braum's and my last real ice cream, before dad and I were given the pets to find a park or something for them to roam. 

We decided to go to the community building where the reunion would be and find a place close.  Now, most community centers are in the middle of a community, but this one was in a field on a rock road with a few houses in the mile-radius.  We found a tree to park under to keep them cool and let Duke out to run around and use the bathroom.  Of course, there are already people at the community building, but dad and I are far removed from being semi-related, so we keep our distance and let them just watch us.  About thirty minutes later, our family arrives.

There are ribs smoking and pitchers of beer being passed around by the adults.  The kids are runnning around the room, while the adults catch up on each other's lives.  Apparently, this side of the family does reunions a little differently.  After meeting the other kids my age, I was invited to play a game of beer pong.  I declined the offer and was prompted to answer that question I had been trying to avoid.  Who are you, and why are you here?  Apparently, my sister and I don't blend well.

"Well, actually I'm not related."  They appear intrigued.  See my mom's half-brother and half-sisters are here and they all used to come when they were kids... Yes, the conversation was officially awkward.  My dad and I found a television with the women's basketball gold medal game and kept to ourselves until we forced my mom to leave.  An exciting day, but hopefully the last family reunion I'll be crashing. 

Main Street, West, TX

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