Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 12, 2013

BRADBERRY: Family reunion time -- let's party!

Niagara Gazette — Some things bear repeating, like what I penned almost exactly 10 years ago to the day, and again five years ago on these very pages, “Although you can’t tell by the weather, according to the calendar it’s (almost) summer.”

Time to start thinking about vacations or, as is the custom among some families and friends, it’s time to start thinking about the annual family reunion again; time to “party like its 1999.”

As in years passed, Mother Nature has certainly done her part to pent up our desire to get the heck out of the house if not out of town; to hit the parks, beaches and highways, anyplace where the sun is shining and the temperature has risen high enough to break out the sandals, shorts, swimming suits, hiking boots, fishing poles, Frisbees, horse shoes and barbecue gear — whatever it takes!

This year, just as they did 10 years ago, the annual barrages of cool winds, gray skies, and spring showers have lasted well beyond their welcome; we’re ready to see and feel the warm glow of the sun, are we not?

Ever since, and, I’m sure, generations before I was a tiny bundle of babbling joy, my dad’s side of the family enjoyed getting together every August for at least one week in sweltering Riviera Beach, Fla., where his father’s family settled after they migrated from Georgia in the 1920s.

But after living there until his early teens, my father, like hundreds of thousands of others, had headed north in search of better opportunities than life in the South could offer at that time.

Most African-Americans in the South were still struggling in the post-Civil War, Reconstruction atrocities which had resulted in the strict racially fueled segregationist, “Jim Crow” laws designed to keep things just the way they were, separate and unequal, keeping black people on the bottom rung with little hope of ever climbing any higher.

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