Dr. Jude Meche
March 3, 2009
Family Gathering: Roll Call
It’s a warm summer day and a caravan of vehicles is pulling up for the main event. The sounds of music playing in addition to Frisbees flying and kites swaying in the same wind that’s delivering the sweet aroma of the BBQ ribs is what sets the stage. Familial hugs accompanied by conversation and laugher take place while anticipating the feature presentation; the family gathering. When thinking about a family gathering it’s like thinking about a stage play. There is a stage, which is the gathering place, that’s filled with props such as food and some type of sports equipment. But most importantly, there is a unique cast, played by the family members, that navigates through the event with the help of a few main characters. The first scene opens with the universal bonding that families usually do when they haven’t seen each other in a while. Depending on the family, this bonding could last throughout the event or end abruptly. For some families, scene two is where a lot of star performances are displayed. I can remember one of my family gatherings where the fairytale in scene one was interrupted by a bloody fist fight that two of my cousins were engaged in. While the peacemakers of the family were trying to intervene, the instigators of the family played their part by keeping the conflict level high. All families have some level of dysfunction, and for most, it seems that large group events is where the dysfunction tends to show itself most blatantly. A key concept that is seen within a family is the different roles that family members play, which can be influenced by tradition, society or individual personality.
At a family gathering, the traditional role is commonly played by an elder in the family. My grandmother is who contributes tradition to my family gatherings. She is the one family member that always knows how to make good of a bad situation. For instance, she is