on being silent (or, a list for my cousin sam to emulate)

my derry family reunion is this weekend, and it’s the only vacation i get this summer due to new job. needless to say, i’m pretty excited about it – the lake, the people, the fun. we all need more laughing in our lives, right?

i’ve been to every derry reunion. i’m really the only cousin who can claim that since i was born the first year the reunion was conceived. and there were some things i learned as i grew up alongside the reunion. some things from which certain cousins of mine would definitely benefit.

1. hush it up. if your (then) 3-year-old cousin molly falls off the top bunk, get her to quiet down as quickly as possible. if you’re the oldest one there, you’re going to be blamed.

2. if you’re 7 years old with a side of family who you don’t really know that well and you fart in a room full of said family, don’t own up to the fart. just let them accuse each other. it keeps you from being ridiculed for farting and puts on a show as well.

3. there’s something to be said for nor standing up for a cousin, especially when it means taking your husband’s side instead. sorry, sometimes blood doesn’t come first.

4. sometimes, but only sometimes, it is worth it to speak up with a much needed “this is ridiculous” when an uncle needs to stop beating a dead horse.

5. and above all, silence is golden. if you are at the nightly bonfire and you don’t say much, people (especially if they’re drinking) will not notice you’re there. you can learn a lot, see a lot, hear a lot. plus you get to stay up hours after all your other cousins and siblings have gone to bed. sometimes being in the shadows can be a good thing.

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