Here's the Scoop: June 17, 2009

Do I know you?
Well, I survived the second annual Sweeney Family Reunion.
The latest event was a bit different than the first. During the initial reunion, held three years ago, there were many folks who hadn’t seen each other in decades. In people years, that’s pretty long.
There were some new relatives on board this time around, but also many returning Reunion Vets. I guess that means the first reunion was a success. Or else those who attended have short memories.
Before planning got underway for the first get-together, a reunion was something I had never considered. Fortunately, other family members had a bit more foresight.
At this point, I am officially a Reunion Fan. Plus, I know how to prepare. The night before the reunion, my wife and I pulled out the Family Tree and climbed limb from limb, trying to memorize names and relationships.
This task was much easier than it was three years ago, but still necessary. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who were involved in playing Name That Relative in preparing for the event. The confessions of this type of research flowed freely after a couple of frosty ales (apparently another Family Tradition).

Family resemblance
The problem with a Sweeney Family Reunion is that many of those present look like, oddly enough, Sweeneys. You know, Irish with a bit of a belly — the product of too many brews flowing too freely. But good-natured!
I guess it’s strange then, that I was informed this weekend that I don’t look quite enough the part of a Sweeney. What does that mean? Could that “hospital baby switch” thing my mother always told me about have some merit?
Was I being politely told that my relatives are trying to distance themselves from me?
Was I not holding up my part of ale-quaffing bargain? My throbbing head on Saturday morning told me that last part wasn’t true.
The benefit of “not looking like a Sweeney” was that, if the party got out of control, I planned to join the complainants in asking the authorities to have “those people” keep the noise down. Fortunately, I didn’t have to employ this tactic.
The reunion started Friday evening and quickly revved up to full speed. By late Sunday, the pace had slowed, but we were still enjoying each other’s company. This is quite a feat for me, in particular, because prolonged periods of being nice are often difficult. Impossible, some might say. But I did it.
And then it was over. Old ties had been renewed. Good times were had by all. From what I’ve been told by others, that’s not always the case at every family reunion. I’d pass on that kind of event, I’m pretty sure.
Well, in three years, we shall meet again. I’ll take a bit of time off before I start working out in preparation for that event. I haven’t decided if I’ll consider some plastic surgery to make me appear “more Sweeney-like.”
The good news is, if I bring a full cooler, I think they’ll still consider me one of the family.