We spent the 4th of July in Arkansas with my Dad’s family and had a wonderful time catching up with the many branches of our large and far-flung tribe.
My paternal grandparents were married on Independence Day some sixty-plus years ago and it has been “O” family tradition for my Dad and his three brothers, mit familien, to congregate over the 4th. Grandpa passed away almost three years ago and my grandmother has since moved to a “senior living community,” but my mother was gracious enough to host a gathering of our peeps from Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Tennessee.
My parents live in a semi-rural neighborhood and we kicked off our Saturday morning with a little harvesting at a nearby berry farm. We use to pick blueberries every year when I was growing up, so it was fun to introduce my kids to something I hope will become a tradition in our household.
As you can see, my eldest son was a quite studious picker. His little brother (who evaded the camera) was more interested in picking green berries and attempting to hotwire the berry farmer’s tractor. Ah well.
We came away with a gallon or so of blueberries and several hard-won cups of blackberries. All exertions were deemed well-spent once the blackberries were converted to Blackberry Cornmeal Cake. (I should point out that I prefer blueberries in this recipe but used blackberries in deference to my lord and master. Which said deference did not stop me from adding a couple teaspoons of lemon juice to the batter — a truly appaling omission on Martha’s part, if you ask me.)
Between the consumption all manner of heinous, waistline-killing food, we relished the quietude of the intimate family circle — all four generations and twenty-seven persons of us. Chief among the delights were the great-grandchildren: eight kids ages five and under. Including my two newest nephews, ages four months and two months. Baby buzz.
If you read this blog, you already know my children are cute. That would be a brag if I had anything to do with it, but take these pics as proof I get zero credit. We just have “adorable baby” genes by the truckload in my family. See?
We somehow managed to sleep both my sons and my two nieces in the same bedroom, which defies the theorem of critical mass but still worked. The kids divided their wakeful hours between the inflatable pool and the Toy Story DVDs I brought — both ideas for which I congratulated myself amply. Our boys tend to be a little, uh, destructive if left to their own devices for too long.
On Sunday night, we made a pilgrimage to the minor league baseball park to see the post-game fireworks display. Theoretically a brilliant idea with morphed into a disaster when both of my terrorized children shrieked through the entire show. Oh, and my youngest peed me. Whether it was fright or revenge, he hasn’t ‘fessed up yet. Maybe next year.
My cousin, her husband and their two sons (almost the same age as my boys) are about to depart for eighteen months of language school in Costa Rica before entering the mission field in Columbia; I was thrilled we got to see them before they set out on a remarkable journey of living out God’s will for the sake of the lost. Our best wishes and prayers follow them overseas.
The few family members absent from the reunion were sorely missed but it was a fabulous weekend and I feel fortunate to have such a precious family with whom to spend holidays.
Hope you had a fantastic 4th of July!