Staking Claims at Mamaw’s House

Mamaw Stuff!

To the living go the leftovers.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 7th my wife’s grandmother passed away, six days before her 93rd birthday. From 2011 to 2017 my wife Anne and I would take her out twice per year to the Indiana State Fairgrounds for her two favorite outings, the Indiana Flower & Patio Show and the Christmas Gift & Hobby Show. Longtime MCC readers have been treated to the resulting photo galleries and occasional cute Mamaw photos — her in her wheelchair and me as her chauffeur. While the better relatives would come over and visit her from time to time, not all of them took her places. I was among the precious few who stepped up to the privilege of being her personal driver in that sense.

The ongoing postmortem process has moved at a glacial pace in the ten days since her passing. Over this weekend the family got to the part where they begin dividing up the stuff she couldn’t take with her. As far as we know, she didn’t have a will drawn up, nor did she have enough extravagant possessions to her name to merit bitter feuding in lieu of one. The house itself is ultimately spoken for, but for now an aunt and a cousin are acting as estate wranglers, for lack of an actual, legally opened estate. This means they’ve been allowing close relatives to take turns coming over and picking out whatever mementos they’d like, within reason.

Today was Anne’s turn. Behold a selection from her de facto inheritance.

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Ten Tips ‘n’ Tricks for a Terrific (or at least Tolerable) Family Reunion

White Room!

Come on down! It’s fun for the entire family here at Fire Station THX-1138!

Every year my wife and I attend two family reunions, both of them on her side. My family reunited exactly once about thirty years ago at some public park two hours away from home, where two cousins and I were the only attendees under 35, and the overall average age was somewhere in the lower 60s. That trivia and the crushing boredom are the only takeaways I remember. If they ever attempted an encore, I wasn’t informed. I’m fine with never knowing.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, we shared photos from the 2016 edition of Anne’s dad’s side’s reunion, once again held the Sunday after Labor Day at the exquisitely sylvan, rugged, sprawling, visually arresting Turkey Run State Park in western Indiana. It’s a compromise between us central-Indiana Hoosiers and a healthy, distant branch of cousins and cousin-like hangers-on who live out in eastern Illinois. It’s a bit of a drive for all of us from our respective directions, but everyone agrees it’s pretty and non-boring.

This past weekend was the other reunion.

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Edginess at the Edge of the Woods

Turkey Run State Park!

Another year, another family reunion, another long walk through the lush, jagged wilderness. Edges above us, edges below us, depending on which trail you’re negotiating with their intermittent, frequently incorrect trail markers and/or with their handy brochure map if you didn’t forget it in the car.

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Our Annual Family Reunion Adventure

Turkey Run!

For fifty-seven years my wife’s family has held their annual reunions at Turkey Run State Park, a ninety-minute drive from our suburban HQ and well outside the range of my phone carrier’s disappointing 4G coverage. For the space of one Sunday afternoon it’s an opportunity to unplug from the internet and all its problems, experience fresh air, enjoy good weather live and in person (Lord willing), catch up with loved ones that we’ve been too preoccupied to visit, exchange pleasantries with distant relatives whose names we’ll never remember, test which family members will still commit to a long drive for any of these purposes, and remember how to mingle in large, awkward groups without access to Words with Friends as our consolation playmate.

Or, while everyone else is talking, you can escape the shindig for a while and go explore the best part of Turkey Run, the beautiful forests crisscrossed with several miles of nature-trail adventure.

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