Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recipe for a succesful family reunion

One niece-in-law with a vision and huge amounts of energy and determination
One extremely patient nephew
One big brother who sings/quotes cowboy poetry
One sister-in-law with a guitar
A whole family of wonderful singers
Two awesome two-year-olds
One delightfully cheerful infant
A bunch of ornery nephews and their beautiful wives
3 amazing big brothers and their amazingly tolerant wives
A smattering of various and sundry children
One southern sissy
One very good sport of a brother-in-law
One hero only back on US soil from Afghanistan for a week or 10 days.
Three wonderful sons and one sweet daughter-in-law
One 83-year-old independently stubborn matriarch
Several crazy good cooks
Intermittent visits from random cousins
A little yodeling
Lots of singing
Some preaching (not the whole wagon-load)
Some water guns and converted water bottles
Some croquet (which I guess the Linkels won by default, since the others forfeited)
Some Trivial Pursuit
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say I've barely scratched the surface of what made this weekend so wonderful.

My nephew Steve and his absolutely delightful wife, Jenny, took on the daunting task of rounding up our Walker clan for a reunion in Colorado. Mercy sakes, they reserved camp sites and tried right up until the day before to get people to say yes or no that they were coming. And willing to eat the price of the extra camp site in case one of the late deciders could make it. In the end, none of my nieces came - I have only 3, two in Kentucky, one in Oregon. I have 6 nephews and all but two of them came - one was at a great grandmother's 90th birthday celebration in California - can't fault him for that.

My mommy was there, and all of my siblings with their spouses, and all of my own children (3 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, one grandchild).

How do I describe what made this so perfect? I sang a duet with my sissy, and my stoic mommy cried. I got a kiss on an owie from my 2-year-old grand-nephew. I got to hear my grand-niece join me in harmony parts just by listening to me and matching what I was singing. I saw the surprised look on my brother-in-law's face when I yodeled (which he'd said he didn't think I could learn to do).

I have an amazing family. The weekend was over too soon, but over just in time - I think we all left wishing it weren't over, which is the best way to end any good time.

Funny moments:
Sydne to my sister: Mommaw, can we go down to the lake? My sis: No, but you can go to the bathroom. (who can explain it?)

Nephew: Don's the important one. Me: WHAT!!!!???? (I straightened them out on that one.)

Me: singing a yodel Brother-in-law: I apologize (aside to others: well, she DID learn to yodel).

Brother-in-law: You just THINK you're right. Me: No really, when I'm right, I say so! Nephew: But when you're wrong, don't you also say you're right? Me: Of course, but that's beside the point.

Most special moments:
My big brother, Donald Ross Walker II, with his grandson Donald Ross Walker III, sitting on his lap, quoting a cowboy poem written by my grandfather, Donald Ross Walker I.

Myself and my 4 siblings singing from memory our grandfather's "theme" song, "He Washed My Eyes With Tears".

Seeing my son and my oldest brother give each other giant big hug and knowing it is geniune affection being expressed and not polite family act.

Brother II, Bill, and his Rainee trying to organize us for a photo - HA! Herding cats! But I think he got a good one.

Seeing my mommy cry when I sang with my sissy - Daddy always cried, but mommy always maintains control.

Seeing my nephew hug his mommy and grandma and wipe the tears off his face.

Seeing my sister-in-law, who is in fairly advanced stages of Lou Gehrig's disease, raise her hands in joy and praise when we sang anything about going to be with Jesus.

Being able to read sister-in-law's air writing and interpret her desires faster than even her husband sometimes, especially when it came to song choices.

Watching my grand-nephew (with Asperger's and IED) interact successfully with so many others, most of whom he'd never met, and having him tell me spontaneously after I helped him with something, "I'm going to miss you when I go home." :-) Gotta love that, huh?

A BUNCH of hugs from my nephews and nieces-in-law. Oh, how I love them. I just don't know if anyone has more delightful nephews than mine.

Knowing that everyone pitched in to cover the cost of the un-used camp site so Steve wasn't stuck with having to pay it out of his pocket.

I know I've forgotten a million things. But it was a weekend to treasure - moments I'll never forget.

Thank you Jenny and Steve, from the bottom of my heart. I know I told you already, but truly, truly, you cannot possibly know how this blessed me. And I know I'm not alone in this sentiment.

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