(Prepare your eyeballs. I’m about to assault them with pictures of fun people you may not recognize.)
It’s important that you wear the proper attire to a family gathering. Matching is always appropriate.
Hold any child that deems your lap comfortable. Expect children to make the rounds between family members and choose favorites.
Anybody with an iPad or laptop to entertain the kids and garner relative silence in a house full of 38 people will be a hero. And it isn’t fun for the kids unless they pile as many as they can onto a couch meant to hold half that many people.
Games are a must. Winner of the euchre tournament gets bragging rights until the next reunion. Except more than likely, no one will remember who won since you all stayed up so late playing to the point of delirium.
Eat much and often. It’s important to keep your strength up for all the fun you’re having.
For the traditional talent show, you’ll need an audience.
A proper talent show should always include several songs. A rewrite of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” or a love song to Chik-fil-A and/or a Rusty Chevrolet are expected.
Story-telling should be included. A Shakespearean version of the The Three Little Pigs is appropriate and properly hilarious, while Grammy’s version of the little old lady who can’t get over the pig sty is regularly reprised. (p.s. If you squint closely, you can see the head of a sick aunt who, due to illness, was forced to view the entire show from above. No one is left out of the fun, even if they’re sick!)
Further talent offerings should include (but are not limited to):
Playing “Joy To The World” on the kazoo while balancing on a ball,
A demonstration of ping-pong paddle skills,
The requisite performance of “Sisters” from “White Christmas,”
An interpretive dance and a hip-hop lesson, in which everyone learned to isolate their shoulders and discovered which muscles were suffering from disuse,
And four-part harmony to old spirituals performed on, you guessed it, kazoos.
The cousins should band together for several musical numbers, one of which must almost always come from “White Christmas.” This year’s performance of “Choreography” was an unexpectedly delightful choice.
And finally, for a grand finale, an all-cousin cast of characters to perform one grand lip sync, preferably to another family favorite movie, “The Sound of Music.”
After such an exciting and lengthy performance, nothing but a cozy pile-up on the couch will do. Again, the more cousins on the couch, the better.
Finish the weekend off with a healthy dose of Vitamin C (to avoid the plague everyone seems to carry) and a piece of Grammy’s cherry pie.
Collapse in happy exhaustion wherever you can find the space.
Then count the months, days, weeks, hours, and minutes until we can do it all again…