Every December the entire Hamrick clan comes together in the north Georgia mountains for The Hamrick Family Reunion; two days full of family, food, and fun. As a child, I counted down the days until we'd head north for the family reunion. Upon arrival the kids would all gather in the "big house" to decorate ornaments and build gingerbread houses...anything to keep us occupied while the adults got dinner ready and had their cocktails. Just before dinner, Papaw would unveil the highly anticipated family reunion souvenir. My cousin Sarah and I always tried to guess what it might be: a t-shirt, mug, hat. A favorite of mine was the Hamrick Family Reunion Sweatshirt which I paired with coordinating holiday leggings. It was the nineties.
After a day of tromping through the woods for the kids and cooking and shopping for the adults, we'd have a family wide Bingo game. It may sound genteel but I can assure you a Hamrick Family Bingo game is anything but. A room full of LOUD southerners, some a little sauced and some hard of hearing, trying to hear my grandfather call out Bingo numbers, all vying for some pretty awesome prizes. After each number called, my great aunts Bon-Bon (Bonnie) and Blanche , would immediately yell "Whaaaaaaaat?" in the thickest drawl immaginable. And without hesitation, all the kids would hiss the number at them because we couldn't possibly wait another second for the following numbers. After all the prizes had been claimed we'd stuff our faces with a pot luck supper full of family recipes that we'd looked forward to all year.
The family reunions are just as fun as an adult. No more Bingo, but there are always some crazy games going on. By now most everyone is old enough to partake in Martha's famous eggnog; there are always requests for Boz's $8,000 margaritas from Gnat's Landing and Bubba Garcias; and Ryan and I try to share the latest craft beer find in hopes we can convert the domestic beer drinkers in the fam. We paint ornaments with the new young'uns, decorate the tree, and sit by the fire and reminisce.
photo booth fun
Like most Southern families, cooking and sharing family recipes is a huge part of the holidays for the Hamrick family. A few years ago, my mother and aunt put together a family cookbook for our reunion souvenir; in it is a collection of stories, recipes, and photos of our family over the years. Over Thanksgiving I referred to the book for recipe refreshers and ended up reading it from cover to cover remembering reunions past. Trying to choose a recipe to share with y'all was difficult but I think all the Hamricks would agree that no reunion or Christmas is complete without my grandparents Holiday Scramble. Enjoy!
Bunny and Leon's Holiday Scramble
2lb. mixed nuts
2lb. salted Planter peanuts
1 box of Wheat Chex
1 box of Rice Chex
1 bag of small pretzels
1 box of Cheerios
2 c. salad oil
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Mix together all ingredients. Bake for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Stir mixture every 30 minutes.
Makes a great snack for holiday road trips! Happy Holidays y'all.
Emily Laborde is a freelance writer and social media manager hooked on cruising backroads, photographing old houses, and loving all things local. For more check out her blog Em’s on the Road. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.