I've been to a lot of family reunions in my life. Bell family reunions and Bowman family reunions pretty often when I was growing up, and still once or twice a year. When I got married, I picked up a couple more on my wife's side of the house. I think they were probably better attended when people didn't have so many places to go, and when families stayed together a little better. But we still manage to have them, and we attend as many as we can, and encourage our children to do the same, although I think reunions generally are more important to the older crowd than they are to the youngsters.
One thing that has always been a common factor in the Bell/Bowman/Moyer reunions is the inordinate amount of food that is hauled in and consumed. I imagine that is a common factor in all family reunions.
Speaking of times when people didn't have so many places to go, many years ago, when I was younger, I attended a few reunions with my old buddy Stinky Wilmont. The Wilmont family tended to be fairly large, both individually and collectively. I never did get what I considered to be an accurate count on how many cousins, uncles, and aunts Stinky had, partially because I never knew for sure how many in attendance were actually related, and partially because all of them never stood still or sat down at the same time.
Like our reunions, the Wilmont reunion relied heavily on the moms and aunts to provide the majority of the food, and usually there was plenty to go around. I do recall a time however, when Stinky and his brothers, along with a few guests, had grown older and hungrier. A couple of aunts from Kentucky, who always brought a lot of food and not many mouths, failed to make the journey north. Stinky's mom said something about sciatica, I think. At any rate, I quickly discovered that when you get too many people filling their plates and not enough people filling the bowls, somebody's likely to miss out on the baked beans and a chicken leg. And sugar cream pie.
I read the other day that the federal government was spending about $1.4 trillion more than it is going to take in this year. It did about the same thing last year, and it's going to do about the same thing next year. So far, that has managed to grow our immediate federal debt to about $14 trillion. I guess that's what happens when the people taking money out take out more than people putting in are putting in. Apparently some of the people that are taking out think the people that are putting in should put in more, while some of the people that are putting in think the people that are taking out shouldn't take so much out.
It isn't too hard to figure out how the government got into such a situation. A lot of people that aren't working anymore aren't putting much in, and a lot of people that are still working aren't earning as much as they used to, and subsequently aren't putting in as much as they used to. In just one government program, Social Security, there used to 16 people putting money in for every person that was taking money out. Now there are 2 or 3 people putting money in for every person that is taking money out. In 2009, 64.3 million Americans depended on the government for their daily housing, food, and health care.
Nobody knows for sure exactly when the government will run out of credit and money, just like nobody knew for sure exactly when the Wilmonts were going to run out of potato salad, but if you are one of the people who is depending on government to take care of you in the next few years, it might not be a bad idea to start coming up with an alternative plan.
And if you go to Wilmont reunion this year, you might want to stick a peanut butter sandwich or two in your pocket, just in case.