I have a new grandniece Isabel, who is of Chinese and German descent. Her American family had a reunion recently to meet her. A family is like a garden which needs to be tilled, cultivated and usually improves when something new is transplanted into it. It’s been a while since our family has added to our garden and it’s been a while since we’ve tried to have a reunion. As small as our family is, not everyone was able to attend.
My nephew Randy is a retired U.S. Army colonel, who is living and working in Germany, where he met and married his lovely wife, Bing. Her daughter, Isabel, had not accompanied them when they visited the United States until this trip.
They flew into Chicago spending a few days experiencing the city before heading to Missouri, Randy’s home base. Touring St. Louis, Randy, introduced Isabel to things St. Louis is famous for like toasted ravioli, and the Gateway Arch and then to St. Charles County to meet her new family.
In the family merger, Isabel, who was an only child, acquired a grandaunt, an aunt and a couple of uncles, a sister and brother, three nephews, a niece, three new cousins and three second cousins.
While Isabel is Chinese and German, the Hortons, well we’re a little bit of everything. Some of our too-trusting ancestors were Native Americans, others were English, Irish, Scottish, French, a little bit of Mexican and who knows whatever else, but we are proud of it, whatever it is. Mainly we’re Americans. Anyone who knows our family knows we’re just a little different. We’ve been known to snap at each other. We might argue over sports and get a little excited at sporting events, whether we’re attending live or watching on television. A family requirement is we are all part of Cardinal Nation no matter where you reside. Needless to say we often enjoy a nice lively discussion about as much as we do our food and spirits. We’re careful about political and religious discussions. We each are right, you know, so why hurt the other person?
Sometimes quiet people take a while to venture into our outgoing and loud family, but I must say Isabel fits in quite nicely. She even made one of her favorite German potato salads to go with our barbecue pork steaks, chicken and gooey butter cake. She immediately impressed her new grandaunt in a couple of areas. Especially when she complained about someone misspelling her name. She held her own playing electronic games with her second cousins and her new nephews. When a lively discussion arose about the game between her nephews, she didn’t argue when her stepfather strongly suggested his grandsons were squabbling too much and she needed to return the game to her backpack.
Isabel, who is 20, was a little surprised the legal age for drinking in the U.S. is 21. In Germany, it’s 18. She will meet the rest of the family, her brother, sister-in-law and another nephew and niece later this week in Las Vegas after she and her mother visit LA. Before returning to Germany, she’ll get to experience Colorado, one of her stepfather’s favorite fishing locations.
Welcome to our family Isabel (with one L) Blum, you are a welcome new bloom in our family garden.
Barb Horton is a staff writer for the Daily American Republic. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .