This past weekend I headed off to Batavia, NY for the annual family reunion on my dad’s side of the family. (Fun fact: my parents were both born with the last name Williams, so I can’t just say “I went to the Williams family reunion,” because that phrase would refer to either/both sides of my family!)
When I was looking into going to Batavia from NYC, I originally looked at train and bus rides. I’ve only ever traveled to Batavia from Minnesota, and my familiarity with NY geography is quite lacking, so I figured, considering I was only traveling within the state, that the bus/train should only be a few hours long. Ah, innocent, ignorant me. Turns out, Batavia (near Buffalo) is about as far away from NYC as possible without going outside the state, and the train ride was going to be 8 or 9 hours! I decided to fly instead.
I got in some good reading and snoozing on the plane, and the reunion itself was wonderful! I arrived rather late Friday night, but I got to see my dad for the first time in three weeks, and we chatted a bit before heading to bed at our hotel.
The next morning, Saturday, the reunion officially began. My dad and I had a lovely walk from our hotel to Lewis Avenue, where my grandpa’s house is. (We had intended to get a rental car, and that hadn’t worked out, but we had a wonderful time catching up and enjoying the fresh air, so it turned out well!) Everyone who hadn’t gotten there yet began to arrive – including my cousins from NYC that I was riding back with – my aunt started the picture-taking, and the eating (a significant component, I think, of any family reunion) began. We started things off well with my cousin wiping out and sliding through mud as she tried to take a picture of my two uncles on the tandem bicycle. She ended up being fine, but she her wipe-out was a favorite topic of conversation throughout the day! (A fact I’m sure she appreciated. :D) This reunion was a little smaller than some – and thus perhaps a little more subdued than, say, last year, when human pyramids were built – but we still had lots of fun! I suppose our family is rather competitive, because cribbage, backgammon, and chess tournaments are regular features, as is a 5K (more on that later).
This year a euchre game was added! I participated in the cribbage tournament, where I won an incredibly close game against my uncle, before losing to my grandfather in the semi-finals. My dad, who is insanely good at virtually every game that exists, actually was not champion this year – though he did make it to the backgammon finals (where my aunt triumphed over him). As the day continued the tandem bicycle was brought out again, the eating continued with my Uncle Steve the master of the grill, and I relaxed and chatted with various family members – first in the porch swing and later in the papasan chair, a term I just learned this weekend! Later in the evening we argued about the starting time for the 5K the next morning (there was rain in the forecast), and eventually my dad, uncle, and I headed back to our hotel.
The next morning was race day! After snagging some English muffins from the free hotel breakfast (after all, I’m a student trying to feed myself in NYC on a budget), my dad and I headed off to Lewis Avenue. The 5K is a rather hallowed family reunion tradition – started about five years ago, I think. Normally it is just family members (this year there was one friend participant), but it is quite official, with course maps, signs with painted arrows, and official timing by my uncle. Runners, walkers, and bikers are all welcome, as are dogs. I participated as a runner. I was a little nervous, because I did reasonably well last year, and haven’t been running much recently, but I actually beat my time from last year, and got a PR! It started to rain just after I finished, but the joggers and walkers, including my dad and Paz, my cousin’s dog, all persisted through! The cheering at the finish line is definitely a highlight, and I wish I had a picture (I sadly do not) of my uncle kissing the finish line upon his conclusion of the race – it was quite a moment.
After a succession of showers and more eating, we all got ready to depart. I said good-bye to everyone, including my dad, and headed off with my cousin, her husband, and my uncle for a ride back to the city. We had a nice trip, complete with reading, book discussions, gas station stops, and excellent music (The Greatest Showman was a favorite – at least for my cousin and I, that is!). They dropped me off right at the door of my residence hall, and I said good-bye. Overall, it was a fantastic weekend!