The Kuchar family is once again in high gear for a funeral related family reunion. These are the types of gatherings I envisioned when I married a man with 10 siblings and 16 aunts and uncles. I initially thought that all holidays would necessitate a hall rental complete with massive potluck and all kinds of Czechoslovakian desserts. Alas, this was not true and my visions of chaotic (in a good way) celebrations were tossed out the window when our first Christmas together rolled around and the event was hardly bigger than what I was used to as a child. My dad was an only child and my mom had a brother who I don't recall meeting before he died and his wife moved his family to Florida. Needless to say, as a child, our holidays were weary and seldom required more than one type of dessert.
After acclimating myself into Vinnie's family it became obvious that family reunions were to be impromptu at weddings and funerals because the planning was otherwise too cumbersome. So here we are once again on the verge of saying good-bye to another family member, our wonderful Uncle Theofilis (Ted), who was the grouchiest, pickiest man I knew. Or so he pretended, I know I saw more than one soft spot over the years. He couldn't hide the fact that he dearly loved each of his black labs (one after another named Blackie) or that he once spent a whole day making a trellis for his wild roses when there was plenty of other things to be done. The love he had for his wife was well hidden in his demands for milk and Tagamet at dinner. You truly had to be present at the noon meal to appreciate the gruffness. In fact, the first 100 times I experienced it I thought what a nasty old man he was, but that was just his way. He is also the reason that I have a bathroom IN my house (Bless him for getting Vinnie's butt in gear) .
So, the next two days will be spent in reunion-like fanfare with the family taking over the funeral home, inside and out. Uncle Ted's 1929 Buick is stately parked on the main drag in Chesaning. Our own family priest will preside over services at the local Catholic church after flying in from South America. After the service, a procession will travel 22 miles from Chesaning to Flushing so Uncle Ted can be placed in one of the remaining family plots. It will be a difficult time, so excuse us while we gather and forgive us for the inconveniences we assume will be no trouble (even though they really are).