Monday, July 20, 2015

What a weekend!

My silent auction prize -- the family in 1955.
Remember that probable Guiness-Book-of-Records-family I once moodled about? Well, this past weekend there was a pretty wonderful reunion of them all, many of their children, grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren. As reunions go, it was chaotic and challenging for the introverts in the crowd, but it was also a good opportunity to remember and appreciate our roots and our wings, and our connections with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Eugenia and Wendelin, my grandparents, had 12 children (all still living with the combined ages of 905 years -- at least until the four August birthdays), and 77 grandchildren, of which I am one (#30). Being born in the middle ranks, I was fortunate enough to connect with some of my older cousins, with my age group, and with some of my younger cousins as a willing teenage entertainer of the little ones at family weddings -- they were irresistibly cute in my books! I was also fortunate to be shipped to Saskatchewan for a couple of summer vacations (and my one and only fishing trip) with cousins, and a few of them joined us on camping trips as babysitters when we were little, or stayed with us in the city for swimming lessons and/or to get out of their parents' hair for a week or two in summer.

Of course, a reunion of 250 people is something of an exercise in frustration, because half the faces present were un-place-able. Our last reunion was ten years ago, and we've increased in number and all gotten older, so in many cases it was pretty much impossible to know who's who and who belongs to who among the younger set, except when there was an undeniable family resemblance.

I'll admit that, as an introvert from 'away', I really lowered my expectations of enjoyment for this reunion, and that probably helped create many sparkling moments...

- Returning to the 'land of living skies' (Saskatchewan) and setting up our camper just as this distant downpour reached the regional park...


- Watching a Saskatchewan Roughrider's game out at Uncle Mark's original farmhouse (now owned by his sons), singing along with the 'First Down chant,' and being present for the high fives after a touchdown (unfortunately, the Riders lost in the end)...


- Camping at the lake where we swam as kids...


- An early morning cemetery walk, finding the relatives who are awaiting us in heaven...
- Swimming in a sea of yellow shirts...
- Noticing the amazing young adults that my cousins' kids have become...
- Listening to my youngest daughter converse in French with a cousin-in-law who lived in Paris for 23 years...
- Hanging out at the kids' colouring table with little second-cousins Keira, Ben, Sam and others, and their moms and dads... and seeing the 'big kids' enjoying colouring, too!


- Staying out of the way of all the 5- to 10-year-old energy as the kids played among the tables in the hall...
- Getting updates on the happenings at the bunnock tournament (that I wish I could have been part of, but you can't do everything...)


- Watching a skit by the 'original twelve' unofficial Guiness Book of Records holders...


- Cousin Sara's impression of her fave celebrity, Dr. Phil...
- Playing 'Family Feud' with questions that pertained to the grandchildren's memories of Grandma and Grandpa...
- Hearing a recording of Grandpa Wendelin singing German songs...
- Singing together as a big group...
- Dancing the butterfly with a 40-year-old cousin and her 4-year-old niece...
- Watching the 'originals' dancing the Russian polka together...
- Big circle dancing, like a conga line, following Phil S. out one door of the hall and back in another...


- Sitting inside or standing outside the overheated hall swapping stories...
- Kibbitzing with cousins as we cleaned up/closed the bar around 1 a.m....


- Picking 2 gallons (8 litres) of Saskatoon berries at Auntie Cathy's U-Pick at 8 am on Sunday morning, and getting a garden tour...
- Church music that felt like home and made us all smile as we sang along...
- The comment by Uncle Don (only child and in-law) about "winning the lottery" when he joined the family...
- A picture of Marias who span 30 years in our ages -- born with 14-16 years in between (how cool is that?)...


- Short chats (never long enough to really catch up)...
- Quick last hugs...
- A peaceful pause at the historic Battle River Trestle on the way home...


One thing is certain -- we descendants of Eugenia and Wendelin have been blessed by God in more ways that we can count. Not that there haven't been challenges and losses, but definitely, the blessings win the day.

Thank you, God, for Family with a capital F. And a good, good weekend.

+Amen.

6 comments:

  1. You captured my experience so perfectly. We are blessed. Thanks Maria.
    From Teresa

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    1. Sorry we didn't get in a longer visit, Teresa! Next time... or maybe we'll have to stop down your way sometime...

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  2. Nice to have those memories in print, Maria! My thought was just how 'lucky' we are... You can't 'earn' a family like that.

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    1. You are so right, Adele. Looking forward to your next post!

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  3. Thank you Maria! Going from one wonderful family to a gathering of another... I'm brought to tears with overwhelming gratitude for my blessings. I feel like the luckiest person alive. God bless - He does!

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    1. Thanks, Chuck. It was so great to see you again and meet your wonderful family. Was thinking of you all yesterday -- I'm sure it was a very special gathering of those who loved a beautiful woman. Peace to you all...

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