Saturday, October 13, 2012

Being Related to the Coolest Guys

 I didn't have any brothers growing up. Then I got married and suddenly had three, then four of them. During the epic family reunion we hosted this summer, I got to see how amazingly lucky I am.  That's Dan, above, Chuck's best friend growing up.

He was the one rolling in the grass, wild-ing up the rabble every chance he had. He was like a big kid and I've learned that there's nothing children love more than an adult that truly gets into their games with them. I just wish I could tap that inner ability to cut loose and wear a rainbow wig and have a splash war. If I keep watching Dan, I might learn.

At the same time as he was Battle Royale-ing with the kids, he would be the most thoughtful, caretaker.  This above picture doesn't quite capture it, but it takes a very generous man to let down his guard down during a water balloon fight to help a little guy adjust his witch hat.

Uncle Dave, the brother that Chuck just ran the Rugged Maniac with, (you can read about it here.)
led frequent hikes for whomever had an Aunt Jen packed hobo pack of snacks. (see how sneaky that was, I insinuated that I was cool, too- I gave the kids candy tied to a stick! Radical!  Oh, pointing it out via parentheses sort of takes the shine off my coolness, you say?  I say, nay.)

 Dave also led lessons for the kids. Some of us were blessed with looks, Dave got the brains and was generous enough to share. One reason I don't have pictures of the archery lesson is that I got too focused and forgot to Kodak Moment it. Charlie is still begging for a bow and arrow. And I fibbed on Dave not being attractive, just scroll down to see.
 I never expected any of the parents to get dressed up for our "Tacky Party".  I sent out invitations featuring a Jose Cuervo style mustache and instructions to be prepared to talk about salaries and religion and politics. The kids grasped the concept immediately and found ridiculous costumes, stuck price tags on them, smeared lipstick on their teeth, really showed some wisdom beyond their years.   

And then the uncles walked out. 

And the party really started.  Dave emerged first, actually wearing the mustache. These are some straight-laced and sort of brawny guys and I just didn't expect it. He had his shirt neck open and a big gold chain and I don't know how to say it without sounding mean, but he looked so REAL. When he came down to breakfast the next day, I had this moment of missing the mustache. And that isn't a glint of sun in the picture above, it's the gods of soul shining down upon the man.

Chuck came down next and I won't even show the full pictures out of respect for my children who will someday read this and be horrified, but W.O.W. Dr. Tacky M.D. There was a lot of skin and one of my mini cardigans will never seem cutesy again.  Dan was next and that's when we were all laughing to hard that I couldn't get a good shot. (Such a fib! I have rolls of the most excellent pictures, but they will stay hidden.)

Battle Royale shots of the cool uncles fighting it out Nerf style with the swarming hoards of young ones.

Uncle Joseph comes through every year.  He's never failed to play, individually, with each cousin.  He brings gifts, activities and always a scavenger hunt of two.  He was in charge of the tacky olympic games. He led the family history walk and made sure to spoil our old blind pug.  Betsy died last week and I was able to pull up quite a few family photos with her in them thanks to Joseph.

Uncle Lane, my favorite photography muse for the reunion has the greatest contagious smile.

 This is Tauni, who was quite panicked in the first moments after a water balloon exploded on her leg, but a giggle from Uncle Lane turned the worries into smiles.

The talent show and the slip and slide truly showcased Lane's skills.

Maybe it's Karma paying me back for all those years I suffered through a dull life without brothers, but nowadays I am related to the coolest guys.

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