FEATURE — In my youth, summer meant countless hours at the local pool swimming, drinking Cactus Coolers, sorting Skittles by color on the warm, concrete deck between sessions of Marco Polo; tennis lessons; sleepovers; and day trips to the beach.
It also meant two weeks in Lake Tahoe. That’s where my family spent our annual vacation from the time before I had memories until the summer I had my first baby, excepting that one year we went to Hawaii when I was 15.
In Tahoe we had incredible freedom to explore and wander the sleepy lakefront town we inhabited on the northwest shore of the lake. We filled our days with waterskiing, crawdad fishing, hiking, swimming, lazing on the dock and walks to the local market for candy.
The July I gave birth to my first son everything changed. With his due date nestled squarely in the middle of those cherished Tahoe weeks, I was aced out of the long-held summer tradition.
To my delight, my extended family moved what had now turned from a “family vacation” into a “family reunion” to Park City so I could still be included.
In this new location, things were different. We didn’t waterski and there were no crawdads to tempt from bacon-weighted fishing lines. Instead, we spent our time swimming at the pool and riding down the alpine slides. And we all birthed a new tradition: the family talent show.
Before you think, “Oh, they’re one of THOSE families,” let me stop you. We aren’t.
When considering this family talent show, think of it along the lines of a variety show, one that would likely get canceled after the first season – or maybe midway through the first episode.
The matriarch of our group, my mother, who is the one who insisted we do the talent show that year, proclaimed at one point during the show: “Boy, we’re a pretty talentless group!”
The grandkids objected to her categorization and told her as much.
While she clarified that she was really only talking about her own children, save my brother who taught himself to play the guitar, mandolin and ukulele, the grandkids have since taken it upon themselves to disprove her statement. And this is why we keep doing it again and again.
Over the years, they have played the piano, played the violin, played the guitar/mandolin/ukulele, re-created Jimmy Fallon’s “Ew” better than Fallon did it himself; they have sang, danced and demonstrated kung fu skills to music.
The adults, on the other hand, have offered less traditional talents in the form of “spoof yoga,” go-go dancing, and Sonny and Cher impersonations. (I told you to think bad variety show.)
The adults have come to agree with my mom: We aren’t a talented bunch in “that” way. But we continue to submit talentless acts to the show, wherever the location of the revolving reunion, because it’s now part of our ethos like Lake Tahoe used to be.
It has come to encapsulate summer for my kids the way Lake Tahoe, Cactus Coolers and swimming at the pool used to do for me.
Last year, the reunion back in Park City, our talent show was almost shut down when a neighbor mistook the dance music and boisterous noises pumping out of the garage of our rented condo as a teenage party instead of what it was.
When he realized his mistake, you could almost see the want in his eyes – he wished he were as talentless as us and having as much fun reveling in it as we were.
Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.
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