My dad and his five siblings were close and always made it a point to have family reunions once or twice a year. We also got together regularly on certain holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
So unlike many, I had the good fortune of growing up with my cousins. We saw each other a lot.
Each summer, thanks to my cousin Robin Hubbard who organizes the event, the Morris clan still gets together. However, instead of O’Bannon Woods, the site of former reunions, we now invade Mike Linnig’s Restaurant. But location really doesn’t matter. The fact that my cousins and relatives still come together for a few hours to tell stories, share laughs and catch up with today’s happenings is what brings us together.
This past Sunday, we had a great turnout with 67 people attending and they all shared one thing — they had Morris blood running through their veins.
They came from as far away as Florida and Canada, which says a lot about their commitment to the family. Maybe they all wanted to see me, but I doubt it. It was great to see my cousins, many of whom I hadn’t seen since last year’s get-together.
We all have gotten a little more gray, and medical issues and retirement plans are the main topic of discussion now. Unfortunately, my dad and three of his siblings are no longer part of the reunion. But they are there is spirit.
Playing with my cousins was a big part of my childhood, and no matter how old I get, those are memories I will never forget. Whether it was the legendary kickball game at the forestry, which we hope to bring back to life in October, or rolling down a hill for no reason, we always had a great time together. I really don’t remember any arguments, other than a slight disagreement on a safe or out call at home plate or that pass I dropped due to pass interference. Had to be interference.
While we hope to get together again for a renewal of the kickball game, we probably won’t be rolling down any hills when we return to O’Bannon Woods. And some of us may have to call in sick the next day for not being able to get out of bed.
The Morris clan is alive and well. My grandmother would be proud of the family, and especially the fact that we have remained in contact with one another. She loved the reunions.
June was the reunion month for me. Not only did the month end with the Morris reunion, but two weeks earlier, I celebrated my 40th high school class reunion.
Joe Ruttle always invited me to past reunions, but life seemed to get in the way. I was either working or there was a prior commitment.
But nothing stood in the way of me attending my 40th at the American Legion Bonnie Sloan Post 28 in New Albany.
I enjoyed the reunion and seeing a lot of former classmates, but it was hard for me to get past all the old people who were there, sitting at the tables. Where did they come from?
Like me, they came from the proud class of 1979.
It’s hard to visualize yourself as getting older. Do you ever look at an elderly person and think that will be you one day? It’s weird, just like it was strange seeing former classmates look a bit older, since I hadn’t seen some of them for decades.
My class can still bring it, though. We can still party like it’s 1979.
Many have moved away since walking the halls of New Albany High School, and just as many have enjoyed plenty of success as adults. I am proud of the class ... especially those who, like me, attended Green Valley Elementary School.
As part of the reunion attendees had their picture taken with elementary school classmates. And Green Valley had a great showing. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.
It’s true you can’t live in the past, but reunions are a good way to rekindle friendships and catch up with family. Some reunions are better than others, but I have to admit, the two I recently attended turned out great.
Hopefully, there will be many more to come.
— Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Reach him at 812-206-2155 and firstname.lastname@example.org.