There are many reasons people gather together to celebrate: family occasions, sporting events, parties or gatherings of friends, graduations or career successes, and reunions. Though reunions can be fraught with danger if they are the twenty plus years after leaving school … and some of us just shouldn’t go there!

Mind you, some family gatherings should be avoided at all cost too! Unless you’re an observer rather than a member; then they can be highly entertaining, especially once alcohol is introduced into the mix! Christenings, weddings and funerals tend to bring out the worst in some people. Many seem to think it’s an opportunity to bring out skeletons from the cupboards, and see it as a time to throw a grenade into the gathering and watch the resulting fallout, from the periphery, with great glee. You’re probably, unconsciously, listing those family members who are champions at this. And they’re always the ones who accept every single invitation, even if they need to change plans to do so. Every family has at least one member like this.

We’re currently with the P-i-C’s family for a niece’s 21st, and it’s been over a decade and a half since he and his three sisters have been together, so it’s long overdue and worth the hour flight from Sydney in a very, very small plane, with a delayed take off due to a fuel discrepancy, and the door not closing! Besides getting international and interstate family members together in one place at one time, these types of celebrations are for some reflection time and, as one gets older, to see what the next generations will likely be bringing to the future. Though to be perfectly honest, an eighteenth or twenty-first is probably not the best opportunity for that generation to showcase its talents; and definitely not its ability to drink and celebrate getting drunk as a must-do, tottering around on towering heels, looking like new -born foals trying to co-ordinate their legs, and choosing clothes which provide the best chance of a wardrobe malfunction! The last thing, particularly for the younger women, is a real test when you see what most wear; or to be more correct, don’t wear. And we were not disappointed. I’m in danger of turning into my mother when I say I’m sure most of the female species, aged eighteen to about twenty-five, seemed to have forgotten at least one item of clothing, generally something to cover the region immediately south of the ‘nether’ region. All was ok if they remained upright; the problem was when they bent over … though I’m sure many of the male population, old as well as young, didn’t mind! And yes, G strings were obviously the choice of knickers, and bras seemed to be optional! The piece de resistance for me was the outfit where the jacket was actually longer than the short-suit; and it wasn’t a long jacket! Anyway … it was a lesson in what’s in fashion; or as I like to say, ‘what not to wear in public’. And yes, I’m just a tad jealous of their amazing figures, and their confidence to carry it off.

I’m sure … well, pretty sure, I didn’t offend in the dress department in my younger years. OK, there may have been an occasion or two in the seventies when I probably wore hotpants that were ‘high on the thigh’, or a boob tube that revealed a little more breast than was probably politically correct for the occasion, but that was expected … wasn’t it? I thought it was tasteful … and the grainy, old Polaroids, now yellowed with age, support my argument. And I’m not going to search for my glasses to give them a closer look, just in case I’m wrong.

So, I’ve realised I’m a judgemental old fart, exactly what I always said I woudn’t be. Someone has to do it! Be warned my beautiful grand-daughters, you WILL be having a dress rehearsal, in front of me, before you venture out in public to party! And then I’ll pretend you won’t go and change, if you don’t post photos on social media. Or at least block me from receiving the particular post I wouldn’t want to see!

In the end, celebrations can be good or bad, depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting. They can be cathartic, when hatchets are buried (and not in the person), or memories are blurred with age. And sometimes they are even pleasant. We’ve had a great time with this family celebration, I’m very pleased to say.

But mostly, you’re just thankful you’re able to choose your friends.

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