Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Family Reunion in McCall, final reflections

Zeke and AnnMarie graciously let us gather at their lovely home on Payette Lake - again this year!  It's weird they are not here!  Because they are expecting their second baby - a girl due to be born next week, on June 25th!  Unloading my packed car seemed to be so important that I forgot to notice all the beauty surrounding this lovely home.  The blue and yellow chairs lined up on the sand in front of the lake - the newly planted lawn and hundreds of new perenials, including some of my favorites - bleeding hearts and forget me nots!
 I was here three different times last year so that excuses me from appreciating the beauty and the generosity of the Johnsons??  I hardly think so, but today, since it's a rainy morning, everyone is sleeping in.  It's almost 8 o'clock and the house is quiet.  I heard the boat leave around 6 - Darren and Levi are Dale are all gone, maybe Paul and Gus, too.  The morning always gives me time for reflection and time to thank God for His creation, for the gift of my large extended family, and time to pray for those who are not here.  I woke up during the night thinking about the new baby coming, whispering a quick prayer for a healthy baby, since AnnMarie wants a VBAC.  Little Kennedy took a long time to be born and I prayed that this baby would be able to come naturally.  What is it about a rainy summer day that makes me feel it's going to be cozy and filled with lots of memories?  Maybe because of the bags Marilyn and Connie brought filled with projects.  Oh, Maureen just got up - we're talking about the "inside day."  And she said it's ok, "we still have the view."  Yesterday was warm, sunny.  Kids played in the water, older kids went floating, guys played horseshoes.  Maureen and I went for a walk on the bike trail and took the kids to the secret garden, just down the road.  We waited all day for Marilyn, Dan, and Connie to arrive.  Flat tires delayed the Kuhlmann's.  Connie just got a late start!  But they were here for supper, when conversations shifted to food, health concerns, and stories about "what we had to do before we left."  Connie planted all her annual flowers, Maureen resisted washing all her bed sheets, and I wrote three thank you notes and took a check to the bank that had been sitting on the counter for three weeks!

It's been raining all day today.  Quite a storm around noon that also blew a lot of branches off trees and all the blue and yellow chairs on the sandy beach.
  We've been sitting around, snacking, sleeping intermittently all afternoon.  Karen's getting the mosaic project ready, Marilyn's crocheting a hat for the new baby Johnson.  We hope to do some hiking tomorrow - it will be nice and cool that's for sure - only expected to be in the 60's the rest of the week.  The rain didn't stop the horseshoes games...
So, our topics of discussion - who among us has ever eaten a fish taco?  Dale said, "I'd have to be almost starving before I'd eat one."  Karen and Maureen, "Lots."  Connie and I, "never."  The Prevention Magazine inspired the question because of a recipe.  I can't see a Prevention magazine now without thinking of Dad, who subscribed to it when it was printed on newsprint.  It's probably where he got a lot of his ideas about vitamins, healthy eating practices, and running barefoot through the snow.

And, what else do we do on a rainy evening?  Play cards?  Watch TV?   Read books?  No, not the Kopczynski's.  We read obituaries.  Marilyn finds out from her friend that the date of her friend would not lead to a long distance relationship.  Her friend suggested that I might like to meet this man.  Marilyn tried to google him, but we found out nothing about him except what was in his wife's obituary.  So, she read the obituary.  Maybe it was the beer or wine that we'd been drinking, but every sentence seemed to tickle our funny bones.  We didn't mean for it to be disrespectful of the woman who died, I think it was just the way it was written that made us giggle.  Apparently we elders provided entertainment for the younger generation.  Darren asked me the next day if we planned to read any more obituaries.
 Is it a good or bad trait that we create our own fun from such simple things?

Jordan, Kaitlyn's friend,
entertained us on the beach, around the campfire, on Saturday night.  He has quite a gift of playing the guitar, but some of us were dismayed that he had never heard of John Denver.  How could that be?

I really enjoyed visiting with Kole, too.  He will be a senior at Lewiston High School and getting ready to make plans for senior pictures and decisions about his future.  Larry's family had never been to this lake place so Kole took advantage of the paddle boards with Karen.

We worked on projects, visited around the campfire, hiked and walked a little, ate too much, but overall enjoyed this special week in McCall.
Especially with the Gaeke kiddos.
I love these family times and when I get back home, spend some time reflecting on the reasons we celebrate together.  We started our reunions in 2010, as a way to honor, what would've been, our Dad's 100th birthday.  When Mom and Dad were alive, I tried to make family celebrations a priority because I knew it was important to them.  I'm approaching my own wisdom years and recognize the gift of life and how fragile it really is.  I continue to have a strong desire to document our history via this blog, probably mostly for my own benefit, as my memory begins to fade.  

I'm grateful that Duane loves to take pictures and allows me to steal from his Flickr account.  Last year he took some great pictures of the Milky Way and this year it was the Super Moon.

We make our family memories, as fragile as writing in the sand, but forever lasting and impressed in our hearts, by our efforts and commitments to be together.  Mom and Dad would be proud.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Kopczynski Reunion - Make Memories and eat S'Mores

This year, unlike the past three years, it rained during our Reunion.  We spent two days inside the cabin making memories.  Marilyn brought a sewing machine and Karen organized a group mosaic project.  AnnMarie is expecting Baby#2 in just a few days and Marilyn brought Kennedy a new doll and cradle from a yard sale.  She thought the dolly needed a new blanket, pillow, and special hat.  Connie helped cut out the fabric.  "It's not straight,' she said.  Marilyn always teases me about my perfection that prevents me from starting and finishing projects.  But look how cute it turned out.....

Marilyn decided that all the "girls" in the family needed a crocheted hat - the dolly, the new baby girl, Kennedy, and Mama AnnMarie.  We spent more time shopping for buttons in McCall than she did making all these hats.  
 Holly started the tradition of making a mosaic stepping stone when we gathered at Priest Lake in 2011. 

It's become a family project - this year Dan did most of it.
The butterfuly stone finished and ready for the grout!
The kids also tie-dyed some T-Shirts.  Maureen said Ryan's favorite shirt is the one we did last year.
 PJ made light work of lots of dinosaur origami projects
And everyone worked on the Lego project!
Dale built a big fire every night so we stayed nice and warm as we enjoyed conversation and S'Mores!

Duane took this picture on the night of the super new moon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kopczynski Family Reunion - Lake Rules, Take a nature walk

This sign hangs in the dining area of Zeke and AnnMarie's home!  We tried to do it all during the week the Kopczynski's gathered at the vacation spot on Payette Lake.
We took nature walks - first hike to Goose Creek Falls, gathering under a tree and one umbrella during a quick rain storm, debating whether to go on!  

Gratefully we didn't go back to the car, because the bridge over the falls was our reward at the end of hike.
We hiked to the secret garden with the kids and they sat still for a few moments for a picture!

Duane, Anne, and I decided to go on a little hike, just 1.9 miles in/out on Saturday.  We found Deep Lake in the hiking book - in the burn area.  Little did we know that meant logs and trees could be covering the trail.  So, not only did we hike, we also hurdled about 200 logs.  We met other hikers coming down the trail who encouraged us to keep going, "Only 170 more logs to hurdle."
 Duane really enjoyed the hiking because we could "see" right through the trees!  As always, the reward of seeing the lake make all the hurdling worthwhile.
As we were taking pictures of the lake, other hikers arrived and we were told they were looking for a place to teach teenagers about survival in the woods.  A director told us each kid would be given a knife, a match, and one slice of bread.  I thought their time would be better spent removing the logs from the trail.  I wonder how those young boys managed because it's been raining ever since.

Duane took this great picture of one of the burned-out trees.

It's the first time Duane and I hiked together and I really enjoyed his encouragement and delight at arriving at the lake.  I hope we can go on more nature walks together.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reflections on Father's Day

I've been thinking about my Dad today!  One of my earliest memories of him is kneeling at his feet when I prayed for my brothers and sisters.  The little rote prayer got a little sing-songy as new names were added to the list.  God bless Theresa, Marilyn, Carole, Allan, Connie, Joan etc.  We also prayed for Carole's eye to get better.  By the time Don, Karen, and Larry arrived, Dan gave up on me kneeling at this feet and spent time teaching the little kids instead.
This picture was taken when he & Mom celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1995.

I've watched Duane and John become fathers and this generation is much different than my Dad's.  

My Dad was not present, in the delivery room, of any of his 10 children
 John and Bradleigh 7/9/96
Duane and Colin 11/19/2004

I sure my Dad
 Never cooked a meal
or made and decorated a birthday cake!
Or attended a college basketball game
Or rode a bicycle with his family

But my Dad taught me many things.  He was big on saving money.  He encouraged me to open up my own savings account when I started working for my Aunt Johanna.  He listened to my desire to get married when I was 17 and told me, "you never know what might happen in your life - someday you might have to support yourself.  So, at least, get some training at a business college first."  He also taught me to pray, although I don't get on my knees often enough.  I'm kind of a morning person like he was - I like to say my prayers while having my first cup of coffee every morning.  I know my Dad spent many hours in prayer before he went to work everyday because he told me so!  When I was facing the reality of divorce he told me he was praying for me and for Roy, too!  When he got dementia he couldn't carry on a conversation with me, but he could always pray the rosary.
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in my life - and don't forget - the father in the picture is praying for you!