Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Retreat Weekend, Part I

Early in December, my brother-in-law, Garry, called me with a great idea for my sister, Connie's 60th birthday.  "Connie's face lights up, she steps a little lighter, and can't quit smiling when she anticipates spending time with her siblings.  My idea is to pay for a sibling weekend so you can all be together.  I'm sure she'll want to be a part of the planning."  We were all a little surprised when she decided going to Cottonwood was a desire of her heart.  She told me she didn't want it to be all about her birthday so we designed a retreat weekend at the Farmhouse at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.  I made airline reservations so Maureen, Allan, and Karen would arrive on Friday and leave on Monday.  Connie and I planned the menu and shopped for our favorite foods.  We packed the SUV with everything for meals and table decor.
Connie and I scurried around the FarmHouse labeling bedrooms, decorating the table, putting hearts on pillows, lighting the candles - all as a way to welcome our brothers and sisters to the retreat!












The Kop kids traditionally are used to cramming people into one car - Marilyn and Joan picked up Karen, Allan, and Maureen at the Spokane airport and arrived at our guest house by 5 o'clock.  Larry scouted around town for firewood and had the place warmed up when they arrived.
We enjoyed Friday night sharing high school stories, teasing Marilyn about her knitting project, and just setting the tone for the weekend sitting in rocking chairs in a big
circle.


The sunrise over the Camas Prairie welcomed us early on Saturday morning.

We gathered in the circle with our coffee and tea and read "The Courageous Heart" from Joyce Rupp's book, Fresh Bread.   Joyce writes, "courage is growing through the hardships of life without bitterness, discontent or disillusionment.  With courage, the struggle can develop in us a mellowness and a deeper sensitivity to just how tender and special the human spirit really is." Larry and Karen, "the little kids" in our family provided the catalyst for sharing their courageous hearts.  "Despite their fears, they constantly stretch their inner selves to take risks, to meet challenges.  They believe in their giftedness and know that the best way to thank God for it is to continually reach into risk, discovering and developing their hidden potential."  Their sharing brought tears to my eyes, but also inspired me to appreciate how one's vulnerability causes growth.  The challenges Karen faced transformed her heart and led her to a new spirituality.  Larry's hidden potential is revealed by his ability to focus on his family instead of on himself.  We also shared some of our favorite books and what we've learned from things we've read.   Maureen and Marilyn told us about a book called, "The Longest Trip Home, a memoir by John Grogan.  Here's a little clip:

We hopped in our cars and took a little road trip around the Butte, downtown Cottonwood and then down to Pine Bar on the Salmon River.  Oh, so may stories were shared of drinking beer, partying, and getting into trouble in high school!  We also heard about working for Mrs. Flint and Bert Lute, haying, babysitting, delivering newspapers, cleaning houses, schools, and the community hall. 
Don drove my Aunt Johanna's big boat Buick down to the river when he was 14 because she wanted to go steelhead fishing and had never learned to drive.  
  I certainly appreciated the views on this sunny Saturday much more than I did in high school.
Taken near Jim and Sally's Rehder's
Our Dad owned the City Electric with his brother, Jake, and brother-in-law, Les Reed.  My brothers helped my Dad from the time they were 10 years old learning all about electricity.  Dad paid them a little when they were in high school and they worked on Saturday helping him with wiring or repairing. 
Larry told us about leaving the door to the plumbing section open at the City Electric, instead of locking it at the end of a work day.  Then, he would sneak back in, leave $8.00 on the counter and walk out of the Cottonwood Cash with a case of beer, take it to the high school dark room and store it in the darkroom chemical refrigerator.  He made sure no one ever accused him of stealing beer!  He got away with it until Uncle Jake noticed the plumbing door had been unlocked.
Karen remembers spending a lot of time at this spot fishing with her three sons!

The younger kids admitted it was the perfect party place in high school - 15 miles from town and local police.

Our neighbor, Pete Hutter, taught all of us to float on our back at this very quiet spot in the River.

I took this picture because my former husband's brother, Ted, was also a drowning victim on this river in 1952.  He was home on furlough, and jumped in the water to rescue a pretty girl and never made it back out.  Roy was just 10 years old when that happened.  We remembered other drowning victims.  
Larry, Don, Connie, Allan.  Front row:  Joan, Maureen, Marilyn, Theresa, Karen.  We were all happy to enjoy the warm sunny day!




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