The concept of relativity#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2002

This month I have been practicing the theory of relativity…family-style.

The first three days of the month were spent on the road to Huntsville and my sister and brother-in-law's home. From there, we traveled to Crossville, Tenn., for a day at my mom's family reunion, followed by a return trip to Huntsville, another overnight stay and then back to the suburbs of Honoraville.

It was a long and tiring journey to complete in just three days, but it was worth the effort to see our four remaining aunts and uncles.

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Once there were nine young Woods, four girls and five boys. Four of the boys served in the military during the Second World War. (The youngest served during the Korean War.)

All but one of the brothers are gone now. Ill health and time has left the other siblings smaller, frailer and far more white-headed than the laughing, vigorous young folks we once visited every summer. Still, despite aches and pains, they came. We, and they, were glad.

At the reunion, we browsed through copies of old family photographs brought by my cousin (and family genealogist) Al. We marveled at how jaunty and impossibly young those soldiers and sailors all looked in their crisp uniforms. There were the girls' decked out in bobby socks, full skirts and circa-1940 pompadour dos' (Trousers? Heaven forbid!).

A whole lot of hugging, joking, reminiscing and (being Woods) coffee drinking was happening that day before, during and after the big potluck meal.

Times, of course, change. The fried chicken we feasted on largely came out of paper buckets (courtesy of the Colonel) rather than some apron-wearing aunt's cast iron fry pan. No matter, the fellowship and family ties felt as strong beneath that Cumberland State Park shelter that Sunday as it did in those long-ago days when we met at the modest country home of Gramma and Granpa.'

Benny and I returned to Huntsville and Big Cove Road to Sara and Tony's home where we spent the past week. I never can spend enough time in sister Sara's company.

We both love chocolate, animals, mystery novels and Robert Redford (though not necessarily in that order). My brother-in-law and husband both say the two of us are from another planet. Never you mind, fellas, you could have done a lot worse than us, we say.

Today our spouses, our parents and we three girls (hey, Deb!) packed a pew' at Union for Father's Day. Daddy got the lovely red rose boutonnire for being the oldest father there.

And we all had one more chance to be together and celebrate a bit of relativity. (Hope you tried it, too.)