LENA MITCHELL: Family takes this week to honor their connections

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

One week from today my summer begins. No, I won’t be going on any extended vacation, but after church services next Sunday my stress and anxiety levels will decrease enormously.
Later this week my cousins and I are hosting the 42nd Mitchell Family Reunion, and our “welcome night” is at my house.
The house and yard – especially the yard – won’t be anywhere near what I had hoped to achieve by now, and certainly won’t be what many of my relatives remember of the gloriously flowering yards my mother always had throughout our childhood.
But they will enjoy the best hospitality I can offer, and the food will be great, because I won’t be preparing it.
We decided to hold the welcome night at the home my brother, Clifton, and I share because it is the last place in Iuka where members of our family live that is also part of the original property where Mose Duncan Mitchell brought his family in 1910.
Most of the other local family members live in the Shoals area of Alabama, so other events through the weekend will be in Tuscumbia and Florence before we return to Iuka Sunday for church service, our last official event.
So far we have about 100 registrations, but that number will swell with the number of locals who are not on the books yet. They’re coming from Seattle, Colorado Springs, Colo., Milwaukee, South Bend, Ind., Philadelphia and other locales.
But if we choose to give a prize for the family member who is traveling farthest, it will have to be Eddie Brown Jr. who is coming from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, as the 14-year-old family emissary, said his father Eddie Brown Sr.
Earlier this week Eddie Sr. sent out the itinerary for Eddie Jr.’s month-long visit.
Before the month is up Eddie Jr. will stay with his uncle Freddie in Nashville; visit two older sisters in Oxford – from his dad’s previous marriage – whom he’s never met; and visit a cousin in Atlanta who went to Spain to visit. Near the end of his visit Eddie Jr. will also attend the family reunion for Eddie Sr.’s father’s family.
In our telephone conversation Eddie Sr. said he was eager for his son to meet as many family members as possible, especially in Mississippi, where Eddie Sr. spent a lot of time during his childhood.
As teenagers in Milwaukee, Freddie and Eddie had a band that they brought to play for dances at the small community center in Iuka after their adult sister relocated to their mother’s hometown. It was music that took Eddie to Spain, where he has lived for about two decades, and Freddie still has a band that plays at the B.B. King Club in Nashville.
The wonderful world of the Internet has made it possible for family members to visit with Eddie Sr. and his family – his wife Meiling, Eddie Jr., and his daughter Tamara – on webcam, but there’s nothing like a face-to-face visit.
Despite the years and miles of distance, Eddie Sr. has made it a point to keep his connections with family at home, and he is instilling that tradition in his children.
For those of us fortunate to have an extended family and network, those relationships are valuable beyond measure.
Lena Mitchell is the Daily Journal Corinth Bureau reporter. Contact her at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@journalinc.com.