This past weekend I went to a family reunion of first cousins on my mother’s side of the family, the Sawyers.
My Grandfather Uriah Sawyer who was from North Carolina was in the turpentine business and met my Grandmother Mada Conant in South Alabama. They had four children who had eight children; my first cousins and thus the reunion.
We have been meeting at a restaurant in Steinhatchee every six months to eat and fellowship. It is about halfway between us.
This time there were only five first cousins: Buddy, Sam, my brother Eddie, a second cousin Deana and me. My wife Bev was there as well.
We decided several years ago to start meeting, and I always look forward to the gathering.
Cousin Sam Sawyer brought along a box full of pictures he shared with us and as you can imagine, we had a great time looking at old pictures.
Those pictures brought about a lot of reminiscing and memories.
I learned some things that I did not know and saw some pictures I had never seen.
My second cousin by marriage, Pete Shutt, was killed in Vietnam.
I remember when he died and it was a sad day when we found out. We talked about Pete after we saw his picture as we were thumbing through the photos.
He was a really good guy and when he would visit us from New York with his dad and my cousin Jo Ann, everybody had the same opinion of him.
I did not realize or had forgotten what a nice looking young man he was and that he had been killed on his second or third week in Vietnam by a sniper.
There was a picture of my mother as an infant with my Uncle Herman Sawyer about four years old I had never seen before.
There was another picture I had never seen of them with my Grandfather Uriah and a Model A car.
Reminiscing with my cousins and hearing some of the stories about our parents and other relatives makes me appreciate family.
Family when I was growing up was so important. Nothing came in front of family.
There was one picture of all of us in Granny Sawyer’s family in the front yard of Uncle Herman’s house in Tavares.
Altogether there were about 30 or so folks.
We called the gathering Granny’s Reunion and it was alway so much fun.
Most of those folks in that picture are now gone. Of the eight of us first cousins, two have passed away, and that is one of the reasons we try to get together like we do.
I wish I could go back to those times and tell them how much they meant to me, but that will not happen.
But I’m satisfied they knew it at the time and that is why they brought all of us together at every opportunity.