The Merchant, Peterson, and English family reunions originally started with my Great Grandmother, Irene Peterson Merchant. Her birthday was August 2, and she wanted to celebrate her birthday with her family and her husband's family back in the late 70's. My great grandparents lived on a farm in Huntsville, Texas. The best family reunions took place right there in the backyard underneath a shady, huge oak tree. The reunions would last from noon until midnight sometimes.
"Mama" as we often called my Great grandmother, baked homemade pineapple cakes, German chocolate cakes, and made the best red kool-aid in the world. She called it "polly-pop," and it was loaded with pineapple juice. Come to think of it, "Mama" cooked all the food for the reunions that had as many as a hundred and fifty present. Sadly, "Mama" passed away in January, 1986. The 1986 reunion wasn't quite the same. The one following it in 1987 occurred right there in my great Aunts living-room, it was that small.
It wasn't until early 2004 that the grandkids got together and reignited the flame that "Mama" started nearly 30 years earlier. We added more activities and every year we pay tribute to our loved ones who have passed on. We celebrate by having church and then we end the evening with the live band throwing down on everything from Archie Bell and Drell's, "Tighten Up," to the "Cupid Shuffle." My husband loves the band, he usually gets a front seat to video the action with his camera.
I really hope we can continue the tradition so our children and their children can come together. It is always a really good thing.