Playing by the Rules by Ellen Javernick

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Last summer we attended two family reunions. The first at Sylvan Lake Lodge in South Dakota over Fourth of July weekend. Younger family members hiked mountain trails, hissed at a melodrama and howled at a video made from photos of their parents as kids. It was a great time! I feared the second reunion would be a different story.

The second reunion was a four-hour, one hundred fifty person affair at the VFW hall in Canon City, Colorado. It was planned like a “senior chew and chat.” Emphasis was on praising Great Aunt Florence’s poticia and hearing about who was suffering from what illness … hardly an exciting day for school-age members. The hall was on Main Street so for safety sake the kids could not leave the building. As an in-law I hesitated to offer advice but I wanted my children to have happy memories of time spent with their father’s extended family. I offered to plan activities for the kids which was not greeted with much enthusiasm. I was given the go-ahead as long as the activities I planned “didn’t cost money” and “didn’t make a mess.” Now that was a tall order!

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