Summer is a time for picnics and family reunions. On a recent mid-July Saturday, our family gathered at the home of our daughter in southeast Iowa for day 1 of our weekend reunion. It is a big family. Mom and Dad, no longer with us, raised nine children. They took us to reunions when we were kids. We felt their influence this time. Here is the family portrait, over 80 of us, except for one or two taking pictures who are not quite considered ‘family’ yet.
Preparations were monumental. There was plenty of delicious food brought by many. Two men worked furiously in heat and smoke to grill the burgers, hot dogs, and brats. Kids of all ages were running around having a great time playing. The weather was sunny and bright after an early threat of rain that did not materialize.
Some came from the midwest, while others traveled from Maine, South Carolina, Washington, Arizona, and Louisiana. A good time was had by all.
The location for day 2 of our reunion was about an hour farther southeast in western Illinois. My brother lives in a small town with a park across the street from his house. He reserved the pavilion for us. Early that morning a very slow moving rainstorm dumped over 3″ of rain on the town in about an hour and flooded the park and street. Fortunately, the firehouse next door was available. Two trucks were moved out and parked in the driveway. We set up our reunion party in the firehouse. Food was in the back room. Tables and seating were in the truck bays.
The weather cleared out. The rain stopped. Water drained away. Kids headed for the park to play. We posed for group pictures of families in front of the big red fire truck. There were almost as many in attendance as the day before.
Earlier Sunday morning, mass was said at the small country church where my folks attended all their lives. It was founded by great-grandparents on my mother’s side. After mass, a graveside blessing was offered for those who could attend. Mom and Dad would have loved this weekend party.