Okay, so it wasn't the Apocalypse, but AylaPalooza IV was a major undertaking for us, and now that it's over, we are all picking up the pieces, resuming our everyday lives, and looking forward to AP V, two years from now.
Two features of the reunion ritual happened on the weekend as we were winding down. One, the family pictures, is always a major operation, somewhat like trying to organize and outfit the Sixth Army. (Trust me; I know. Years ago I was a GS2 clerk typist for a post engineer's outfit in the Sixth Army. I've seen what it takes to outfit that bunch, and the two are surprisingly similar. Honest.)
In the past, we've hired professional photographers to come to wherever we were gathering. Yet in the final analysis, it was usually the pictures we shot of each other using our own digital cameras that ended up going onto people's Facebook pages, Christmas cards, and walls. This year we're bringing our own cameras and asking a neighbor who lives near our host to please come shoot the whole group. We think it's going to work just fine.
Another feature of getting our family together is singing. When the kids were little, getting them to harmonize was sometimes the only option I had to keep them from killing each other. They grew up singing together and loving it. Once, on a memorable trip into Mexico, the brothers entertained groups of non-English speakers by singing Weird Al's "One More Minute." Since it had a lovely tune, and they pulled it off with perfectly straight faces, the crowds thought they were hearing an American love song. We all declined to translate the words.
Two years ago we prepared a musical number that we performed together in church. This year we did a different number and we sang in church again. It's one thing we all love doing and, since most of the kids, in-laws and grandkids are quite musical, other people enjoy it, too.
So the pictures are taken, the pies are eaten, the songs are sung, the home movies shown, and we're all going back to our everyday lives. We're also getting the mental wheels turning, planning and preparing for two years from now when we'll try to one up ourselves with better games, better food, better songs, competitions, and fun. I, for one, can hardly wait.