Reunion – Part I: NATO Peacekeeping

Knowing that the weekend was fraught with potential hostilities, incendiary devices and decades of unresolved conflict, i knew i would need to hit it early and hit it hard.  Rules of Engagement would be necessary for all of my clan, as we descended upon a lovely wilderness area in Tennessee for our second extended family reunion weekend.

Three rental cabins to assure lodgings for all, with assigned lodging to accomplish the following objectives:

– Protection of Civilians:  Keeping my cousins clear of hostilities that might erupt between my niece, DQ and her family, and my sister, Hurricane T.  Warring for the past decade, i needed to assure minimal collateral damage.

– Enjoyment for Cousins:  Group the attendees together in an efficient way, taking advantage of having a pod of third and fourth generation “young ‘uns” at the cabins.  Keep the small kids together for a chance to bond.  Keep the small kids away from adults who are annoyed by small kids.

– Retreat Positions for Warring Factions:  Keep Hurricane T and DQ physically separated.  Give DQ time away from her role as Mom’s primary caregiver. Provide ample time for Hurricane T to visit with Mom since it’s been two years since they’ve been in the same state.

Given the mission/objective challenges, i wanted to be ‘first in’ to gain full situational awareness.  Visiting each cabin, i laid in provisions as i checked out facilities.

Basic Provisions i brought to HQ

DQ and her clan would be staying at the largest cabin, which would be filled with her generation of cousins, and their young children.  Swinging by that cabin, after unloading my gear in my cabin, i found their crew arriving and starting to get settled in.

daisyfae: Let’s do the indoctrination briefing now, before the others arrive.  For this weekend, i am your NATO Peacekeeping Force Commander.  Should you run into any problems with ANYTHING, bring it to me first.  There are coalition forces in attendance – Cousin S and Cousin L are apprised of the challenges we may encounter with Hurricane T, know that there have been hostilities in the past, and are sympathetic to your position.  You can rely on them as needed for support.

i delivered the speech with a degree of farcical melodrama – but we all knew the underlying truth of it. Mom was on board as well, sharing some concerns, and encouraging DQ to keep her cool if possible.  i reminded Mom of her role – “You’re part of the comms team, Momma!  Be direct!  Be consistent!  Let Hurricane T know your position on things!”  We were a little less puckered afterwards, and even managed a few nervous laughs.

i took Mom and her gear back with me to Headquarters – the cabin we’d be sharing with Hurricane T and her partner, TK.  They’d sent a text saying they’d found a liquor store near the airport, and would be arriving at the cabins within the hour.

And they did…

Provisions AFTER the arrival of the reinforcements…

Hurricane T hadn’t seen Mom in two years, as she’s refused to visit her in the current trailer park situation.  Giving them time to get gear unloaded into the loft of the cabin, and visit with Mom a bit, i then launched into their version of the NATO indoctrination briefing.

daisyfae:  As i have told the other faction, i am to be your NATO Peacekeeper for the weekend.  If you encounter resistance, frustration, or behavior that mystifies you in any manner, please bring your concerns to me directly for interpretation and resolution.  Our goal is for all to have an enjoyable weekend, and that there are no fatalities…

Following the same farcical delivery as i had for DQ and her clan, i laid out the same essential message.  For Hurricane T, and TK, however, there were added minefields that had to be addressed.

daisyfae:  For full situational awareness, i want to give you a short bio on each of your extended cousins.  They are delightful human beings!  They may seem culturally different at first, and this may be frightening, but with a little preparation, i believe there will be no issues.

Hurricane T:  Not worried about the cousins.  We’re in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee!  They don’t like gays here?  Are we going to get strung up by our thumbs or something?

daisyfae:  Statistically speaking, you were in more danger driving to the airport in Miami than you are here!  Relax!  The cultural differences within the clan may be initially disarming!  They are mostly non-drinkers, so…

Hurricane T:  WHAT?!?!

daisyfae:  Let me finish — non-drinkers, but non-judgmental!  That said, we are all in this cabin for a reason [points to ‘provisions’ counter in kitchen].  Let’s try to contain the drinking to our quarters.  Just easier that way.  Keep it discreet.  Low key.

As TK went to mix up a fresh round of drinks, i continued to talk to them about ‘common ground’.

daisyfae:  Your cousin, L?  She’s an amazing woman. She’s PR director for the small town school district, a columnist for the local paper, and quite an adventurer.  Cousin P, and his wife, P?  RABID collegiate sports fans!  You guys will be able to go on endlessly about the strengths of the South East Conference, down to details of recruiting prospects for next year.  Cousin S?  She’s pretty brilliant and adventurous in her own way…  And don’t let these sweet western Kentucky accents throw you off.  They are all very intelligent, very astute, and genuinely good folks.  Relax and get to know them a bit!

Briefing concluded:  Friday, 5:00pm local time.  We loaded up the car and headed for the main cabin to begin the reunion…

41 thoughts on “Reunion – Part I: NATO Peacekeeping

    • Our extended clan doesn’t drink. One of my goals with logistics was to minimize discomfort for all by containing the drunks alcohol to one cabin.

    • Hi Cheryle! Welcome to The Park! Dr. Daniels was my friend that weekend… The little baby bottle of Crown, however, went home with Hurricane T. After the first night, i squelched alcohol consumption a bit….

  1. I like the additions to the ‘basic provisions’.
    That should have gotten you through at least the first day!
    Can’t wait ti hear about the rest of your deployment! 🙂

    • There were leftovers. PLENTY of leftovers… This is what we brought for a 3 night stay… and only 3 of us hittin’ it…. Overkill. Some armies travel on their stomachs? We travel on our livers….

  2. Waiting… That IS an awful lot of booze for three people for three days. Of course, if the situation gets bad enough even non-drinkers will turn to substances of comfort… I do love the briefing style. I’d love to see it used on my little sister, who I may now just start referring to as Tornado J… just as destructive and unpredictable as an F5

    • The vast majority of the booze was packed up and brought home. Definitely overkill, but we wanted to be prepared. Family members that track meteorological disasters should be a category on “Jeopardy”. More episodes coming up shortly…

    • Thanks, Tammy, but there are days when the blackness of my heart outsines the goodness… It was an adventure, and all survived. Will have multiple episodes for this one… still writing…

    • It was only 4 days/3 nights, but enough happened (both inside the cabins and inside my head) that i’m working on about an 8-9 part series. May have to adjust. i don’t like to put more than 500-1000 words in a post – mostly because it forces me to edit myself aggressively and usually helps readability. we’ll see. next one about ready – probably by tomorrow night.

      and yes. i am a lion tamer. with the missing appendages to prove it…

    • if i’d have had access to satellite communications i’d have been able to call in close air support. never rely on mobile phones in unknown territory…

  3. You have my admiration. It was all I could do to put up with just my sibs for a couple of days in Las Vegas last year. This many people with this much drama would have had me camping in your cabin, and I don’t drink.

    • i really love my cousins, and they wanted to see Mom. it was a no-brainer for me. after the first night? i switched to just a beer or two – wasn’t sure what i was going to have to deal with before it was all over!

  4. I’m late in getting to these so I thought I’d just start at the beginning- the massive amount of booze accumulating in that cabin scares me and I can already sense the tension building. So far you’re handling things very effectively DF.

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