Thursday, July 21, 2011

Round 'Em Up and Head 'Em Out . . .

"The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to." -Dodie Smith 

Art courtesy of
We have returned from our combination family reunion/vacation - happy, grateful and exhausted, tinged with moments of sadness.  We gathered in sunny, balmy Oklahoma CIty, where the daily high temperatures were 103+.

I inherited this family by marriage, but they always make me feel like I belong, or perhaps, after 29 years, they've just given up on getting rid of me.  Either way, I look forward to seeing them and love the time together. 

States represented were Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee, California, and Colorado.  The Louisiana and Pennsylvania contingents couldn't make it this year.  The people are as diverse as the states where they reside.  They are farmers, bankers, preachers, students, Viet-Nam veterans, school administrators, elevator managers, a former navy seal, teachers, pilots, a Harvard MBA, 
librarians, doctors, lawyers and, yes - if you climb high enough in the family tree - even an Indian Chief.  
"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you." -Kendall Hailey
There was swimming and patio living for those who wanted to brave the heat; and games, chatting and picture albums in the air-conditioned clubhouse for the less hardy (or less insane, depending on your point of view).  And food - always food - including some of the best BBQ you'll ever find.  On Sunday morning we held a family worship time - remembering those we've lost since last we gathered, welcoming the new additions, and celebrating the family's amazing legacy of faith - then sang a tearful rendition of Blessed Be the Tie That Binds, and went our separate ways.  If you're not familiar with that old hymn, it's verse four that got all the faucets running:  
When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain. But we will still be joined in heart and hope to meet again.
The trip also included a mini-family reunion with our kids/grandkids.  We picked up Amanda in Manhattan on the way, then met up with Mitch and his girlfriend, plus oldest daughter, Amy, and her two boys when we got there. Our whole crew together for forty-one hours!  Oh, joy!  Rapture! (*name that movie.)
Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.
Amanda's boyfriend arrived from Amarillo on Saturday night, Mitch left Sunday at noon to head back to work, and the rest of the circus loaded up and paraded to Monkey Island Resort on Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma.  If you're looking for a family-friendly vacation destination, this is a good, if slightly pricey, choice.  And you know, it's possible I'm just out of touch on what things are going for.  We rented a ski-boat for a couple hours, played golf, swam and played games.  And food - still more food.  

I won't reveal any more, (you mean there's MORE?  Groaning and eye-rolling!) lest you not return for my promised slide-show which contains twenty-seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining what each one is. (**More points if you can identify that reference.  Hint:  It's from the days of record albums.) 

Like branches on a tree, we grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one.
* The Wizard of Oz - spoken by the Cowardly Lion
** Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie


  1. Oh - it sounds like a wonderful time, despite the oppressive heat!

  2. I love spending time with my family. This sounds like an amazing trip.

  3. Alice's Restaurant!!!!
    Sounds like you had a good trip.