Keep the Pastor Cousin in your peripheral vision

When you go to The Family Reunion, you must be aware of certain “rules”. These are not so much “rules” as “guidelines” or “suggestions” or ways in which to make your experience at The Family Reunion a more pleasant experience. And of course, all “guidelines” concern food, at a meal… The Big Lunch On The Mountain.

1. When you arrive for The Big Lunch On The Mountain, take a few passes by the food tables (a long line of about 10-12, maybe 37 picnic tables covered in crock pots, fried chicken, and pasta salads) prior to the start of the meal. Because there are quite possibly 6 or 7 different types of lasagna, find out which lasagna is Aunt Alice’s and share this information only with those who are going into battle with you.

2. Prior to the start of the meal, there will be a period of time (approximately 30-45 minutes depending on how late you are, cause you’re sure to be late) to meet all the old women – great aunts, great great aunts, great cousins, and the other old women that nobody really knows but we just don’t have the heart to ask how they’re actually related to the family just in case they’re related to that guy that died in that horrible accident… that’s how it always happens, and then you’re really embarrassed that you asked. This is an important period of time because it is at this right-before-the-meal period that some of the 20-something cousins, who are attempting to follow this rigid process as they have learned it over the years, are pulled away by their dad or grandfather in a “there’s someone I want you to meet” kind of way, which completely and totally destroys all hope that they will be able to continue The Plan as outlined below. Pray for these unfortunate souls that they will regain composure after realizing their position in the buffet line means they missed all of Aunt Alice’s lasagna. Their life is officially ruined. However, if you are able to mingle enough to look like you’ve already met everyone your parents/grandparents will try to introduce you to later, you can be fully prepared for the next step.

3. Now read carefully. This step CANNOT be missed. The Pastor Cousin will probably be the one to pray for the meal, since someone always volunteers him to pray for every meal… since he’s obviously closer to God. You must always have this Pastor Cousin in your peripheral vision, because when one of the old women reaches for his arm and gives him that indecipherable quiet speech with a small head nod, the prayer is about to begin. This preparation step is of THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE in The Plan because once the prayer is started you can’t move. I think it’s the law of the family, that moving during the prayer renders the prayer totally ineffective and you might just die that night on your way back down the mountain. A few brave souls might move during this prayer, but I wouldn’t suggest it. You may get mean looks from the old women afterward, and die.

4. As you see that momentary glance and head nod from one of the old women to the Pastor Cousin, immediately charge through the crowd to a position coincidentally close to the plates. As much as you may want to grab a plate immediately following your first sighting of this majestic object that will safely and firmly hold Aunt Alice’s lasagna, resist the urge. At the end of the prayer you will be in perfect positioning at the front of the buffet line at The Big Lunch On The Mountain, and your life will be rich and full of endless possibilities.


  1. […] scoop on what goes down at a Houck (mom’s side) Family Reunion, you’ll have to read Meghan’s Post. But I got to spend Thursday night to Saturday morning catching up with my AMAZING family from […]

  2. […] a bunch of cousins that no one knows, eat a lot of food, meet some more cousins, and participate in The Plan.  I also got to see Freakin Chris Richardson in concert with Phil Stacey at the 24th Street Stage […]

  3. […] have Family Reunion #2 this weekend, so I’ll try to post pictures from New York before we leave, including that 250 […]

  4. […] reflected her upbringing in the small town of Mullens, West Virginia.  Our cousin Brian (the Pastor Cousin) officiated the ceremony  – I’m telling you, he does everything that has to do with […]

  5. […] August 7, 2008: The infamous family reunion… “Pray for these unfortunate souls that they will regain composure after realizing their position in the buffet line means they missed all of Aunt Alice’s lasagna. Their life is officially ruined.” […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: