Of family reunions and stuff...

John and I spent the weekend at the Bonita Park Nazarene Camp in the mountains of New Mexico with his family. One of the things about family reunions is that they connect you to the larger part of who you are.

His dad (also John) is one of six siblings, and all of the aunts, uncles and cousins were there.  Ever since the kids were little we would make the trip and hang out for stories, food, music, coffee and playing 42 (a dominoes game).  This year was put on by the "next generation" and included cabins, zip lines, disc golf and a campfire complete with coat hangers and marshmellows along with the usual.

We are lucky to have Gary--John's cousin--as the local family historian.  He put together a slide show that covered about 100 years of Mack and Crystal (John's grandparents) and their descendants.  It was fun to watch from the homestead, to the forties, to the 60's, through the 80's until now covering weddings, births, funerals and just general silliness. It was a celebration of life.
Lexie Dell (who is normally just Lexie except when back home with family), and the twins (Brenda and Kenda) took me to Capitan for Smokey the Bear days where we shopped tents and watched the parade. This was the first time I'd ever gotten to hang out with them.  I've heard stories over the years about Lexie Dell's mom (also Lexie, Crystal and Mack's daughter).  She was the fun one--impish and full of life.  I learned this weekend it is something she passed on to her daughter and granddaughters.  They were fantastic!

Uncle George is the patriarch, and his children: Ron, Rick, Randy and Sandy were there. John and Randy hung out a lot through the weekend and John told me in the car as we drove back that one of the things he remembered most about Randy was that he was a really nice guy with a little bit of an inner "Bart Simpson." He said it was cool to him to see that even as a "grown up" he hasn't lost that mischievous streak.

Of course, it was also really great to hang out with our own family:  John's dad and Maidie, his sister, Cheryl, and Troy, Rhonda and the girls along with Bryn's husband, Jason. So rarely are we all together, and there doesn't even need to be anything special happening.  It just feels good to be in each other's presence.

The only thing missing from the weekend were Chase and Bethany (who got tied up with school/work conflicts).  One thing is for sure, we definitely plan to do it again.

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Maira Gall