Monday, May 26, 2008


Family Reunion by John Holyfield

Family fuels my writing. I have no problem acknowledging their contributions to my creative energy. They share their lives with me and in return, I twist fact to fiction and change the names to protect the guilty. This weekend we celebrated our family reunion in Bluffton, South Carolina. Family came from far and wide to reconnect with loved ones and introduce kin found and born since the last time we’d all gathered together.

The weekend was a sweet reminder of all that should be truly important in our lives and what we should focus on most. Our family historian recited the history during the banquet ceremony and it was with great pride that we all sat and experienced our family’s journey over the last 146 years.

My great-great grandparents were slaves. My great grandparents were born free, just four short years after the signing of the emancipation proclamation. They grew up to be sharecroppers in a small Southern town, rooting their family firmly in land that would one day become their own. My grandmother and grandfather raised their children with values that have been passed down some six generations and we bore witness to the true fruits of their labors this weekend as parent after parent detailed the accomplishments of children who are doing some amazing things with their lives.

We are a mixed race people, coming in many different hues. We proudly claim our ethnicity and the culture of a community whose lineage has included warriors and peace-makers and many a king and queen.

Blessings were abundant at Sunday service where a cousin preached eloquently from the same pulpit our ancestors had worshipped in decades earlier. Great grandchildren gave God praise from the same choir box other family members had grown up in and as we gathered at the family cemetery to memorialize those who are now gone from us, many of us stood in awe of the moment, our history reflecting from their graves.

Family is the true tie that binds. The support and love shared between us is all encompassing. I am better for them, each and every one, and I am honored to share their stories with reverent pride. The price of that kind of fuel is well worth whatever the cost and now that my creative gas tank is at full capacity, I will do some serious writing.

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