We just had our 18th Bi-Annual family reunion at Hellyer Park in San Jose, CA. It actually wasn’t the Johnsons, that’s my dad’s side. But I did go to a Johnson family reunion once where there was a sign that said, “Welcome Los Johnsons”. I laughed for 3 days about it. This was actually my mom’s side of the family, The Jimenez family. Here is a brief run down: My great grandpa, Ambrocio Jimenez, married my great grandmother, Felipa Contreras. They had 11 kids (if you think that is a lot wait until the end of this paragraph). One of those kids was my grandma, Rachel. Rachel Married Manuel Castaneda, thus we are the Castaneda branch of the Jimenez tree. After Felipa died at the age of 38 (I don’t think they had medicine back then), Ambrocio re-married Catalina and had 14 more kids! So, basically my grandma is a sibling of 25. Sometimes people joke with a parent who has 4 or 5 kids and they say, “Wow, if you have any more, you’ll have a soccer team”. Well, my great grandpa had 2 soccer teams, including a few substitutes.
Every 2 years about 500 of us “primos” get together and pretend we know each other. We all wear name tags and special shirts to designate which branch of the tree we’re from. This year, the Castaneda branch got creative. We wore a shirt with a mustache on it, and we all wore a fake mustache for the family photo. I don’t understand the mustache craze these days, but we didn’t want it to fade out before we all got a chance to jump on the band wagon. Even my 4 month old baby cousin rocked her mustache with pride. The day starts at 8am with Menudo (of course) or Pozole, for those of us Mexicans who don’t enjoy cow intestines in our soup. Through out the day we get to play tons of games like Bingo, three legged race, water balloon toss, and perhaps sign up for the Horse Shoes tournament. If you’re into exercise things, you can run the race around the lake… pond. Lake/pond, it’s pretty small. You can fish in it, but probably don’t eat the fish. Just throw it back in when you’re done. I’m in charge of the “Talent Show”, also known as “All the kids just pick their favorite song and dance to it” show. It’s so cute to see all the little cousins dancing their hearts out. Some on beat, most of them not, but still super cute. By the end of the day, there is usually a pretty vicious water fight. Everyone goes home sun burned and soaking wet.
I’m pretty lucky to be a part of such an awesome family. I hope this tradition never dies so that when I have kids (just kidding i’m not having kids). So when my sister or brothers have kids, they can enjoy and learn about who we are and where we come from. You know what the say, “A family that plays three legged race together, stays together”, because it’s hard to get your legs untangled from each other.