It was in the summer of the year that the relatives came….” and so begins one of my all-time favorite children’s books about a family of relatives that comes up from Virginia “in an old station wagon that smelled like a real car…. They left at four in the morning when it was still dark, before even the birds were awake!
If I were to paraphrase this favorite book and contextualize it to this past weekend it would read as follows:
“It was in the summer of the year that the relatives came. They came over from Boston and New York; they came from Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin; they came from Japan, Singapore and Philadelphia. And they came for Tim and Kim’s wedding, some leaving at four in the morning, while it was still dark, before even the birds were awake! They came by plane and they came by caravan! They came in a PT Cruiser that smelled like Jolly Ranchers! They came in buses and in traffic, through cities and through towns. When they arrived they hugged and kissed and squeezed and hugged again from the front of the hotel to the swimming pool. This was the summer the relatives came. ”
“There were all kinds of people! Big people, small people and tiny, tiny people. There was talking and bodies everywhere. They ate all the subs and all the pizza, and they ate all the beans and rice, and they devoured the wedding cake that one of the medium-sized relatives had made. The relatives weren’t particular about beds, which was good since there weren’t any extras and the hotel was already suspicious that more than possible were being squeezed in to the rooms created for small relatives.”
“When the wedding came they all cried because four important people, an usher, a videographer, and a master of ceremonies were stuck on a highway with someone else’s relatives and they missed the wedding. Everyone felt a little sick about that and did not tell the bride. But then they did arrive in time for the dancing, rice and the beans, and roast pig that were a part of the tropical fiesta to feed and entertain all those relatives. And they danced! Oh how those relatives danced! Even the men that didn’t know how to dance found themselves ‘putting their hands up! playing their song… and partying in the USA!“ And then the party ended, and all but a few people fell into bed. Exhausted. Happy. And dreaming about the next time….”
Cynthia Rylant and Stephen Gammell, author and illustrator of the children’s book created and told something profound and humorous with this book. And our family created and lived something profound and humorous with this gathering. So until next time we’ll sleep in our soft beds and continue to dream about next time – which is scheduled for October.
Blogger’s Note: With great thanks to Cynthia Rylant and Stephen Gammell for creating the best book ever!