The Keller Family Memorial Day Picnic
It was the first time since the infamous Keller family Memorial Day Picnic of 1987 that both sides of the family were celebrating the holiday together.
At that last all-family picnic so many years ago, what started as a good-natured discussion between the two sides–those who believed any decent potato salad HAD to include hard-boiled eggs, and those who thought eggs in potato salad were gross–escalated throughout the day into something much more serious. Both factions dug in and refused to concede to the other, and that evening, things came to a head between Uncle Phil (a hard-core “Egger”) and Uncle Mark (Phil’s brother, a passionate “Anti-Egger”). The screaming match that broke out between the two ended with Phil grabbing Mark’s bowl of homemade eggless potato salad off the picnic table and emptying its contents onto the ground one slotted spoonful at a time while yelling, “Potato salad without eggs is unfit for human consumption! It’s DOG FOOD, SO COME AND GET IT, PUPS!”
In the Keller family, the incident came to be known as “The Slop Heard ‘Round The World”. And since then, the Eggers and Anti-Eggers in the Keller family had held separate Memorial Day picnics. It was the only way to ensure the family picnics remained peaceful.
Until this year. It was shortly after New Year’s Day that a small group of Kellers started to discuss the previously unthinkable: A united Keller family Memorial Day picnic.
It was the right time. Most of the Kellers talking unification were of the younger generation who barely remembered, or, in some cases, hadn’t even been born yet in 1987. The battles of the past just didn’t make sense to them: Brother against brother, cousins who barely knew each other, husbands and wives attending separate Memorial Day picnics, forcing their children to take sides. These kids were raised believing potato salad was potato salad, and different types were OK: Eggs, no eggs; red-skinned potatoes, white potatoes; paprika, no paprika–really, who cares? Just eat up and have fun!
And so they’d done it. The young ones convinced the elders on both sides to break bread together.
As they sat there–Eggers on one side of an extra-long picnic table, Anti-Eggers on the other, separated by a demilitarized zone of two-liter soda bottles lined up at the table’s center, each side with a big bowl of their preferred potato salad recipe–the mood was tense.
But also surprisingly cordial, given the circumstances. There were actually some pinched smiles and polite nods exchanged between the two sides. Uncles Phil and Mark even attended and looked like they weren’t entirely miserable.
The young Kellers smiled and gave each other knowing looks. Sure, it wasn’t ideal, and it was going to be a very long, weird, and awkwardly silent picnic. But it was a start.