The Long standing Family Reunion of the Brock Clan is being held for this year only at the Five points Community Center on Pate Pond Road. Due to renovations on the Holmes County Ag Center, that building will not be available for this year for the June 15 gathering of this large group of Holmes and Washington County kinfolk.
The reunion started out as Grandpa Brock’s birthday dinner and I guess originally it was held in the home of some of his ten children, but before I can remember it was changed to Brackin School where I attended primer through 6th grade. It was always first Sunday in May and we almost always got a new dress for the reunion which we also wore to the Mothers Day sing at New Effort Church a week later.
The reunion was later changed to Bethel Primitive Baptist Church located just a short distance from Brackin School. It honored my great-grandpa Tom Brock who was the father of my grandma Hanna Brock Wells and her siblings, Aunt Ginny Anderson who shared Grandpa’s birthday, Aunt Annie Anderson, Aunt Charity Bush, Aunt Della Lee, Aunt Arkie Bush, Aunt Mattie Bryant Van, Aunt O.D. Harrell, Uncle Sam Brock, Uncle Willie Brock and Uncle Jeff Brock.Their mother was Jane Yates.
Jane Yates’ sister, Sarilda Yates was married to Tom Brock’s brother, Uncle Josh Brock and they had a large family of children. Now they join the Tom Brock family in celebrating the Brock Reunion, especially members of the Angus Brock family. Since “Cousin Ang,” as Grandma Wells made us call him, had a houseful of boys and no girls, the most of the kinfolk who bear the name Brock that come to the reunion come from the Angus Brock clan.
Unlike the long standing Williams reunion, the Brock reunion has no program or officials. It’s just gather, speak, hug a lot of necks, introduce yourself if you see someone you don’t know, eat, make pictures, eat, and eat some more. For the last several years, the Bryant branch of the family tree have taken the responsibility for securing the place, setting up tables and cleaning up the mess.
Over the years, different families have taken that job. As long as we met at the outdoor covered table at Bethel Church, Quincy Lee and family set up the tea tub, brought ice and disposed of the garbage. For a while when my brother Clyde was a Circuit Judge in Walton County, Quincy had got out of the habit of attending the reunion until Judge Wells issued him a legal summons to appear. From then on, Quincy never missed. He also made sure that his cousin Mary L. Anderson from Orlando area was able to get to Holmes/Washington County for the reunion. His daughter, Janice Johnson or his son Bill Lee have taken on that responsibility in recent years. Last year was the first year that Mary L, the most beautiful of the 56 grandchildren of Tom and Jane Brock was unable to attend. In her late 90’s, she, Janie Harrell Kendrick and Myrtle Harrell Davis are the only surviving of those grandchildren.
I can remember when my grandma always made sure that a clean wash tub was available for the gallons and gallons of ice tea that was brought and poured into the ice-filled tub. We always kidded her about how old the can of sliced pineapple was that she always carried to the reunion in case there wasn’t enough food, we could open that can of pineapple and make sandwiches. It never had to be opened.
I am always amazed at the amount of food assembled by the younger generation. Food preparation is a skill passed down from the second generation of Brock offspring.
Though for some of the in-laws (and maybe some of the out-laws), going to the Brock Reunion is a chore, I look forward to the Saturday before Fathers Day when this bunch of loud, fun-loving kin folks gather to collect a years worth of neck hugs. See you there, cuz.