When you're in Seattle, it's easy to forget you're related to all these people. But here they are—almost 90 of them—and you can see hints of your own face everywhere. Flying cross-country for a 36-hour trip is ridiculously wasteful, but when you actually pulled up at the family reunion (a once-every-five-years event you were admittedly dreading up until you saw the packed front lawn), you realized that you're glad you came.
Unlike the nightmare stories you've heard from friends, your family doesn't talk politics; there's no buzz-cut second cousin in camouflage Crocs babbling about a Kenyan birth certificate. The closest you get to the rampant xenophobia you've heard about is a good-natured uncle who grumbles about the bowl of collard greens next to the potato salad, calling it "weird." (Or rather, "wee-uhd.") While almost all of your grandmother's 13 kids stayed in Maine, two headed south; the greens are from South Carolina, and the Georgians brought some delicious boiled peanuts.
But even you, the city slicker from the fruity coast, have to agree that the awesomest food is from Maine—someone made the best whoopie pies you've ever eaten in your life, and the red hot dogs snap with every bite. Things are copacetic until someone asks where you're going to be buried when you die. "Seattle," you say, adding, "But I'm going to be cremated." Your relative insinuates that she might steal some of your ashes and bring them home to Maine, where you "belong." You shudder so hard you think the whole family tree will feel it.
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