Every September since 1945, the extended Grandusky family gathered to celebrate itself. They flocked out of New York’s five boroughs and the arc of Long Island communities between Mineola and Northport to descend on the home of whomever happened to be that year’s host. In 1998 it was Joe and Anna Grandusky’s turn. They had hosted in the past, and Joe considered it more obligation than privilege, so he suggested to Anna that they hire a caterer. No Grandusky had ever had the event catered, and Anna worried that she and Joe might be perceived as putting on airs, which they would never do. If hosting was a burden, they should suffer in silence. Anna tried to express this in a way that didn’t sound like outright rejection of Joe’s idea, and he allowed himself to be persuaded. They decided on a barbecue. Joe would round up family volunteers to work in shifts at the half dozen food and drinks stations he calculated the event required.

People on couch
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