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.  

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