Gilbert Reunion version 38.0

Every Sunday Morning, I have a standing breakfast date. I roll out of bed at 5 am, brush my teeth while still half asleep, and head off to the Bob Evans here in Gahanna, Ohio. My company at these way-too-early-for-a-weekend meals are my youngest son Tanner and Little Red. And we have all grown to love this tradition.

Typically, we arrive about 5:45, before the place even opens. A few minutes later the lights outside pop on and they let us in. Tanner always feels special that he gets to be let in early. The staff knows this and asks him if he will have his "usual", pancakes and hot chocolate. We laugh and and talk and have a wonderful time, and are back home before most of the rest of the world even begins to stir.

Yesterday was no different. We got up and went through the routine. But when we got to Bob Evans, the staff was waiting outside and the place was dark. As we parked we saw the manager come speeding up and let the team in. She was running late, and that would mean the whole place would be out of sorts for the first hour of the day. But for our part, we were glad not to break the morning tradition on what was to be a very special Sunday.We finished our breakfast and headed home. After all, we did not want to be late for the 38th edition of the Gilbert Family Reunion.

A tradition of its own dating back as far as I can remember, the Gilbert Reunion celebrates the legacy of my maternal Grandmother's family. It holds a special place in my heart, because these people are not just distant relatives that I barely knew. I spent more time with my Aunt Margaret's family growing up than I did with my own Father. We were blessed to have such a close knit family. These people were part of my every day life, and all fed into who I am today.

Last year, Cousin Sandy's house near Gallipolis was the site of the reunion. This year, my Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Pam hosted the festivities. And they knocked it out of the park. There were carnival games for the kids,  a karaoke system on the deck (I butchered Walking in Memphis when my name was called), a ton of great food made from family recipes, and of course the Gilbert Family Auction, where the legend of The Pocketwatch was born. It was a wonderful day where a ton of new memories were made, to be shared for years to come.

As we looked around yesterday, it dawned upon us that there was no one in attendance who currently or ever has had the last name of Gilbert. With my Aunt Margaret being unable to travel and my Uncle Gene tending to his health, the closest we had was my Papaw,who was married to my Mamaw, an original Gilbert. However, while we missed those who were not there, we still were grateful to spend the time together, fellowshipping and celebrating all of those who have carried the family name through the years. Because, as I said last year, whether we were born in or joined by choice, whether the last name is Slusher, Hodge, Bromberg, Foster, Wills, Grim, Mason, Henson, or Stewart, we are Gilberts. It is hard to imagine a better legacy than that.

On the drive home, I once again found myself thinking about my boys and whether they would remember the reunions like I do. Whether they will pull one of yesterdays moments from their memory banks and share it with their kids. I hope so. Because whether they remember the Gilbert Reunion or Sunday mornings at Bob Evans. I just want them to say they had a blast.

Day # 546. 38th edition in the books. Cannot wait for next year. Now, on with the rest of my vacation. Where did I put that honey do list? Aww, who cares? It is good to be me.



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