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Last Saturday night, we had a spur-of-the-moment family reunion at our house. Although our guests were not actually related to us, they are part of that unique and dear family we have come to love after living in so many different places, our military family.

It was like no family reunion I have attended before. That’s because all the guests were kids, I was in charge of the food, and my son Jimmy planned the entertainment.

Instead of the usual feast served when families are reunited, I offered up sandwiches from Subway and hot dogs. Buns were optional.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts straight out of the box gave those with a sweet-tooth something to nibble on, while beverages were limited to clear liquids that wouldn’t stain the carpet when the inevitable spills occurred.

For entertainment, everyone except our dog, Glory, donned 3-D glasses and watched the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Concert on the Disney channel.

Jimmy had picked up more than enough 3-D glasses at Wal-Mart weeks ago and reminded us of the concert’s viewing time about a dozen times a day.

It was perfect timing when his friend, Chris, called the night before the concert and suggested they get together before his family moves to Colorado. We were neighbors in Carlisle, and then Uncle Sam sent both our families to live near Washington, D.C.

We invited him over the following night to experience Miley Cyrus’ three-dimensional concert with us. Our last-minute party grew into a "reunion of the Carlisle gang" after I talked to my friend, Dawn, the next morning.

Her family also lived around the corner from us in Pennsylvania, right next to Chris’ house. Dawn’s family was planning to attend a wedding in our area and she asked if her son, Vincent, could hang out at our house.

"Yes!" I practically shouted into the phone. "Chris is coming over, and it will be like a family reunion." I couldn’t wait to have two of my favorite kids under our roof, playing with Jimmy, Tommy and Ronnie, just like old times.

Because my boys outnumber and can be a wee bit wilder than other boys in the neighborhood, I make it a habit to welcome their friends into our various homes wherever we happen to live. It allows me to keep a close eye on them and minimizes damage to our neighbors’ homes.

By the time we left Carlisle, our house was a gathering place for neighborhood kids, most of them from military families. It was hard to tell them goodbye, knowing I may not see them again and, if I did, they probably wouldn’t even remember me.

Then Saturday night rolled around, with Miley Cyrus on our TV screen and two of my favorite kids hanging out at our house again. It was a different house but the same bunch of boys, only older, taller and a little bit hairier.

They acted as if no time had passed since they were last together and soon were engaged in an all-out war with air-soft guns. Glory, in the meantime, remained calm about the whole thing and didn’t bother barking at Chris or Vincent.

She knew they were welcome in our home. Like other members of our military family scattered across the world, they always will be.

Pam Zich has moved eight times in 17 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online atwww.lifeonthehomefront.com.


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