Monday, July 14, 2014

Five things I learned at the annual Williams family reunion

I recently spent the weekend at my annual family reunion in Batavia, New York. Every year, we get as many of us together as possible and pile up in my grandfather’s house. No one wants to stay at a hotel because that means missing out on our limited time together. The bedrooms are all full, as are the living room couches, the floor, and sometimes the yard when we bring tents and campers. There are a lot of jokes repeated year after year that we all enjoy beating to death. Some of them have been getting an annual flogging since the 1970s, when my mom and her siblings were kids. We drink bad beer and eat good food and enjoy being with one another.
One of the things I love about my grandfather’s house, besides it being full of Williamses, is that it’s absolutely covered in inspirational quotes. Decades before anyone could even conceive of something like Tumblr, my grandmother basically turned her house into one. She liked to be surrounded by inspiration. She has a few framed prints, but mostly, she’d cut out little magazine snippets and tape them around the house at eye level or tuck them into books. My cousins have kept up the tradition. This year, an index card over the sink caught my eye with two lines from Philippians, the ones that go something like: "Do nothing from selfish ambition, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
The Williamses, we like to keep it positive, and we like to keep it real. That’s one of my favorite things about my family. I feel like they’re always trying to be their best selves, right down to the motivational d├ęcor. In honor of their good attitude, here are five things I learned at my family reunion this year.

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