Archive for August, 2008

notes from a Cramer mini-reunion

Just got back from a mini-reunion of Cramers in Tennessee.  This was all of my uncles and cousins on my father’s side with the exception of my sister who has a three-week old baby at home.  To answer the obvious question, no.  No one lives in Tennessee, it’s just a more or less central place.  We came in from Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington D.C. and New Jersey.

A few notes:

  • Tell your friends before you leave town for a week.  I forgot to do that and on Wednesday when we were driving home, I got a phone call asking if things were okay.  Sorry about that folks, and I appreciate the concern.
  • Never debate my uncles about anything.  It’s not that you’ll necessarily lose – it just isn’t worth it.  Example, on the first night we were there, we were sitting around talking and sampling some whiskey my cousin brought.  At some point, we get on the topic of Woodrow Wilson.  One uncle admits to being fond of Wilson, his twin says that he was the first fascist and a Nazi.  Huh?  After going around quite a bit, discussing Wilson’s flirting with eugenics (not too uncommon at the time), we get to the point where Wilson is also being accused of treason for undermining (iirc) Taft; which then gets to Nancy Pelosi being accused of treason for undermining Bush.  At that point I noted that neither of these cases met the constitutional definition of treason.  Uncle #2 (the one making fascist and treason accusations) didn’t realize that the constitution defined treason (sigh).  He then further admitted that he didn’t really know that much about Wilson either, he hadn’t even read a book on Wilson; but he had read a review of a book on Wilson.  This became the punchline of many jokes later in the trip.
  • The family either a) drinks more or b) talks more about drinking than it did when Grandma Cramer was alive.  Some of this may be that almost all of the cousins are over 21 now.  Some of it may just be that Grandma Cramer didn’t approve of drinking alcohol and everyone kept it under wraps when she was around.
  • Whitewater rafting is still a blast.  We rafted the middle section of the Ocoee river which I haven’t done in maybe 20 years.  Of course, it’s been about 13 years since we’ve done any rafting at all.  We managed not to lose anyone from the boat this time, in spite of my father’s best efforts at drowning us while we were surfing a rapid 🙂
  • It was great to see all of the cousins again.  I didn’t see Matthew since he was only there the first day and we didn’t get in until the second, but other than that, I saw folks that I haven’t seen in more than five years.  It’s funny how people with so many different political and social views, located in entirely different parts of the country who haven’t seen each other in years can be so similar.  Chalk up another win for nature as opposed to nurture.
  • Finally, the drive each way was a little more than six hours for us.  That was among the shorter drives, but I’m really getting too old for long car trips.  Next time, maybe we’ll fly into Knoxville and drive the hour from there.

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