Since I got such nice comments about my dad on that last post, I thought I would show his other side. Everyone has two sides I'm sure. In my family every first Sunday in August we would gather for our family reunion at the park and we always reserved the same table. My mother always said that it was the only day of the year she was happy to have Multiple Sclerosis so she didn't have to participate. I almost envied her this one.
So on this day, my dad piled us into the car for the yearly meal in the city park. Both of my older brothers went this time as did both of my dad's parents. We had a carload that day. I didn't like going to this event mainly because there was never anyone there my age. Every year there would be an article in the paper about the reunion and I was always listed as being the youngest person there. I kind of resented this when I was like 14 or 15 years old. I had some cousins that would have been fun to play with but their parents never made them go to the reunion. My dad was always the president and held the business meeting after the meal and it would have been nice to have other kids to play with when the adults were having their meeting. On this day, my dad told me to go play on the slides and swings while they had the yearly meeting and took up the collection to reserve the same table.
I played for a while in the park and when I came back to our usual spot.....everyone had gone home. I tried not to panic but no one looked the least bit familiar and I just kind of walked around and then I sat on the picnic table and waited. I remember feeling really alone. After a while, I had to move to another spot because another family reunion had reserved the table for their potluck meal. OK so now I began to worry. I knew how to get home but I was young enough that I had never actually been allowed to walk home from the park. I thought I would wait some more before starting the trek home. I would imagine that I was about 5 years old at the time.
Meanwhile back at my house, my brothers walked into the house and my mother asked, "Where's Janet?" They didn't know. My dad walked in and my mother asked, "Where's Janet?" He didn't know. Now she's mad. She could understand that my brothers didn't know (or care) where I was. She understood that my dad didn't remember that he had taken his daughter to the park and told her to go play and then left without her, but she was actually mad at his parents for not realizing that their granddaughter was missing.
So Dad decides that he needs to get ready for work before he comes to get me. On goes the police uniform and back into the car he goes. He pulls into the driveway at the park and there I sit on the picnic table. I remember being relieved when I saw him that I didn't have to walk home but then I was annoyed that he was so nonchalant that he took the time to change his clothes.
After that day it became quite the family joke about how I got left at the park. Somehow after that I really hated that reunion and dreaded going there every year.
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