At the family reunion last weekend I talked with some people whom I hadn’t seen for over twenty years. There was even one cousin whom I had never met. My uncle and aunt had given her up for adoption as an infant, and she was able to locate her blood relations only a few years ago. It reflects well upon her manners but poorly upon her judgment that she, along with her husband and two lovely daughters, didn’t run for the exits when she found whom she was related to.
My dad got up to say a few words. He said that he was proud of the fact that none of his brothers nor his kids had ever been in jail. If I had known that was the extent of his aspirations, I needn’t have bothered with going into debt for graduate school. Now he tells us.
Several of my relatives said that I “looked good”, a sure sign that my physical deterioration was accelerating. Individuals know if they are pictures of pulchritude, and observers know that they know it, so the compliment becomes unnecessary to utter, so when spoken, it has the opposite effect. Another said that I had “lost weight”; since I knew the opposite to be true, I wondered about his previous mental image of me.
I refrained from commenting on anyone’s physical appearance, except for those under 25, for whom “my, you’ve gotten big” is both routine and mildly laudatory. We chatted about those who weren’t there. That’s another reason to attend these reunions---better to be a disseminator than a topic of misinformation.
I grabbed some souvenirs and, because I couldn’t freeze this moment or know when I'd be present at such a gathering again, I ordered the CD / DVD record of the proceedings. Thanks, cousins, for putting the reunion together. © 2006 Stephen Yuen
My newly discovered relation (right) and her two daughters.
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