Which apparently is the going rate for docents in Utica, KS, where the Ochs etc family reunion took place. Grammy hosted 160 of us on the farm, complete with fish fry and go-cart rides to see the cattle. There was a moon bounce (good idea) and valet (bad idea - the boys just sat by the driveway drinking beers and let the cars park themselves).
Every year Grammy puts up 40 Christmas trees in her house, each one decorated in a different theme. I think 30 of them are actually lit, along with thousands of other individual Christmas decorations tucked throughout the house (nativity scenes, etc.) Grammy left the trees up this year, just for the family reunion. So the girl cousins were mostly in charge of giving "tours" of the trees - my tree to show off was the John Ochs tree (my Dad) which had an angel theme. I don't know how many times I heard mom make the joke that it was angels because it took an angel to put up with John. Hilarious, Ma.
My sister and I were both told by the oldest relative there, Helen, that we should have lots of sex. I'm pretty sure she meant with a husband, but I won't be the one to put words in the matriarch's mouth.
We drank a lot of beer and ate a ton of fresh caught fish and pheasant. There were an uncomfortable amount of kids running around, most of them belonging to my immediate cousins. Mom called it the best form of birth control - just seeing my cousins chase after their boys in the hot sun was enough to make me breathe a sigh of relief.
It's strange being at a party that big, drinking that much beer, and knowing that you can't hit on ANYBODY.
Utica is in the northwest corner of Kansas, and its population is about 125, most of whom I'm related to, I think. I haven't been in 17 years, and it was definitely smaller than I remember. Some people go to India for a spiritual check-in. Not me. I showed up Sunday morning to the local Utica (er... Methodist?) church with 60 of my closest kin, which was about three times the normal attendance. And I think I'm doing OK. Just when I think my life is a little too off the beaten path, I can remind myself - I'm an Ochs.
Just look at Great Aunt Helen - now that is a wild woman.