march madness…


The month of March is known for being “mad” for a number of reasons… Whether you’re a mad March hare or caught up in the NCAA basketball tournament, one thing is clear, mad, contrary to the Webster’s definition, alludes to some kind of fun. In my family, March Madness refers not to the college tournament, but rather our willingness to take a road trip drive down to Dayton, Ohio for a fabulous afternoon of family and the city’s most famous Marian’s pizza.

A few weeks back, family members from all around Ohio and as far away as Richmond, VA; came together to participate in our annual March Madness family reunion. The tradition began some years ago, as a way not only to host a family reunion but rather to bring us all together to celebrate the Matriarch of the family, Kathryn’s, birthday. “Mom, why does Grammy call this March Madness?” The doll asked on our drive down. “Probably because we’re all “mad”, driving two hours for an afternoon of pizza and family and then turning around and driving two hours home all on the same day,” I replied. My mother-in-law Pat, who was seated behind us, perked up and replied, “No, this is our annual family reunion in Dayton, OH and nobody can pass up Marian’s pizza”. The doll nodded her head, thinking for a moment before agreeing, “Yeah, that’s true…”

Even though this year we celebrated Kathryn’s spirit being in heaven, we still had the opportunity to celebrate my mother in law’s, brother in law and hubby’s second cousin’s birthday, not to mention take a hard look at how much we have all changed since last November. “Doll, I can’t believe how tall you’ve become or how much prettier you are than I remembered…” Different folks said to her. “Mom is that a compliment?” She asked me one time and I said, “Yes. It was intended as a compliment so take them whenever offered. “Marsha, I can’t get over how much better the boy looks…” “Well, losing eighteen pounds and not all on his head has certainly helped…” I added with a  joke. “I heard that…” the boy piped in. “Okay, but did you lose all your weight with your haircut?” I asked. “Oh. Nevermind…” He replied.

There is an old saying in my family, that you can’t spin a dead cat by the tail without hitting another family member in my town. Between all the first cousins, second cousins and so on, we’re pretty much all over our hometown. So taking the kids to Dayton every Spring offers a good reminder to the kids that small families love just as hard and perhaps better than the large ones (my family excluded).



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