Their main purpose was to talk. The plan was just sisters, but only brother, John, wouldn’t hear of it and pouted until he was included. They skipped the year a sister died of ovarian cancer. Now talking about and remembering her is important.
Sans spouses or children, they meet at a hotel, a mother-in-law’s beach house or a sibling’s house. If it’s at someone’s house, the family (spouse and kids and all) retreat to a nearby hotel. Expenses are shared to equalize the costs to those who travel cross-country versus the costs to those who travel cross-town.
Food is not fancy. The first year they bought lots of food, then found they were too lazy to cook. “Now,” Amy says, “we chip and dip our way through the weekends.”
The Cordell kids have made t-shirts and maintain an unspoken ritual to pass out copies of a favorite book or product; samples of a new hair mousse, a book of ecology tips, things the others will enjoy. One year, brother John found an old manuscript by their mother called “Dear Peabody;” letters from the family dog to the two older sisters who’d grown and left home. John retyped, copied and bound a hardcover book for each of his sisters.
from an upcoming book about family rituals by Meg Cox