41 years! That in itself is an incredible tradition! My aunt is the only person to have attended all 41 picnics. Pretty cool.
We've got other traditions too. Some of them old - baseball, salami sandwiches, Auntie's Coffee Cake... Some new - Guitar Hero, Frisbee golf, piñatas, bounce house... Two of our favorite traditions are what we call "the dice game" and "guess the nuts."
The dice game is a great game. And, apparently, how we teach the younger generations to cheat your family members. Here's how it works. Everyone brings a wrapped gift per adult. We set up long tables, and put the wrapped gifts in the middle. We have many pairs of dice. For 5 (sometimes more, sometimes fewer) minutes, we throw the dice. If you get doubles - take a gift from the middle. If you don't see any gifts on the table, take one from someone. At the end of the game, you get to keep whatever you have.
Sounds simple. And it is. My family likes to take it to another level. Or we can't see the dice. You decide, because towards the end of the game there are a statistically unlikely number of people getting doubles. Every year. And usually Uncle Ron is one of them. Hmm. It is all in good fun though - the prizes are white elephant kind of gifts, or household items. I won this year a roll of paper towels, a can of chicken noodle soup and a box of baby wipes. They were all in one bag, and that bag looked interesting! It was a hard-fought win. I am certain that I had doubles when I grabbed that last package. Though the game was pretty frenzied... ;-)
The kids play a somewhat tamer version. They all get a prize at the end. And when they don't, we encourage them to share. Which they actually always do.
Injection molded plastic toys are super-interesting when they are won! (Rex actually gave this to another little guy who didn't end up with anything, leaving Rex with only unfrozen otter pops... he was so sad, but he decided he would give up his toy anyway...)
Everyone wants to win the bubble wands...
And books are OK too. I guess.
The other tradition we have is "guess the nuts." My godfather has the responsibility of bringing many jars filled with nuts and candies. He and his wife count the number of nuts or candies in each jar, and we all guess the number. The closest guess wins!
Here are the winners with their jars - see anything perhaps odd?
(how cute is this little man?)
(and this smile?)
(is there anything sweeter than brotherly love?)
So, did you pick up on anything? Anything?
Here's a shot of all the winners. See it now?
Here are my thoughts. Either:
- We are raising a group of child prodigies that have the innate ability to guess the amounts of random items in jars until they hit adulthood, at which time they lose that ability;
- We are a short (but good-looking, don't you think?) family; or,
- There is some kind of cheating going on here.
Well, whatever it is, we all have a great time. We get to see everyone at least once a year, catch up, remember old times and tell stories about our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. What a wonderful day to soak up all the family love! We missed all of you who couldn't be here this year. But rest assured, we talked about you! ;-)
How lucky am I, to have such and awesome family tradition, not to mention such an awesome family?!