Lesson from family reunion? Family full of characters

One wouldn’t normally think that a family reunion is an obvious place of learning. And yet, I was schooled last Sunday at the 93rd annual Hommel Reunion.

•No. 1. I learned that you can never, ever outwit your Uncle Tim. A few years ago, I brought a cooler full of water balloons and sneakily suggested to the little kids: “Uncle Tim loves to get hit with water balloons, look how hot he looks.” They were little enough to believe me and these little cousin gangs of preschoolers and elementary-aged kids would chase him and pelt him with water balloons. And so the tradition continued.

This year Uncle Tim wore a welding helmet with face-mask and was armed with a pressurized tank that sprayed water a solid 15 feet. His tank was labeled in large letters: “The KIDANATOR 2017.” On the reverse side it said: “I’ll be back — you’ll be wet.”

Needless to say, Uncle Tim won — this year.

•No. 2. I watched Lorene Sloop, who attends her Vandivier/Sloop Annual Reunion at the same time every year, crouch down to talk to one of my 5-year-old triplet nieces, who had just started kindergarten two days prior. “Faith, can you count to 100?”

“Yes.” Faith answered succinctly.

Lorene directed: “Well, start counting to 100 and I’ll stop you when you get to my age.”

Confidently, Faith began counting, but looked at me with saucer eyes when she counted past the 30s, 40s and 50s. When Faith finally counted into the 90s, Lorene clapped and said “that’s me, I’m 93!”

What a fun lesson in math — especially when Lorene held up seven fingers and said, “only seven more years to 100!”

•No. 3. The third lesson learned was actually reported by my cousin Angie Logsdon. As a few cousins stood around laughing, Angie kindly informed us that we were “Hommeling.” The word was originally coined by cousin Kenny Neumann’s wife Glenda, and I am quite certain the Oxford English Dictionary lexicographers will soon be adding the word “Hommeling” to the 2017 list of new words just to stay on top of the language changes.

In case you’re curious, the definition of Hommeling is when two or more Hommel family members get together and laugh in a loud, contagious deep hearty laugh. While sound amplitude and frequency varies, Hommeling often breaks 120 decibels.