This is the day that we have made the trip for, it’s the Annual Blue Family Reunion. They hold the reunion every year in the little town of Florence at the Florence Congregational Methodist Church. This is the little church that Dad grew up attending. He pointed out that there have been a lot of changes, including air conditioning and the huge fellowship hall that has been added.
When we arrived the “service” was underway. It was the most curious church service I’d ever experienced. It was an interesting mix of talent show and town meeting. They announced new BLUE births and marriages. They had people get up and do “special music” and even a skit that might have been understood better if you knew the inside jokes. There was a short devotional and then “door prizes” for the oldest attendee, the youngest, the one with the most family members attending (Dad won that), and the one who had traveled the farthest (WE WON THAT)! The girls were incredibly antsy and noisy. I ended up needing to take them out and missed Mom’s special number she had planned.
Rose, Ruth, Betty Sue, Rita, Dad (Siblings)
Kathy, Stephen, Pam, Tammy Jo, Eric, & Stacy (Cousins)
Lunch followed. There was a huge potluck spread. We’d brought salmon from home. I ate the yummiest fried chicken (among other things). Following there was lots of talking. Eventually Dad asked if I would be willing to take a picture of the siblings. I did. Then they got a cousins picture of those who were there (we were missing a lot, apparently).
Eric may have been named after this relative.
Dad's dad and mom.
Dad's eldest sister's husband.
Dad's other brother who was lost at birth.
Before leaving we walked through the one thing that had probably changed the least for Dad. I had the privileged of walking through the church cemetery that was filled with his loved ones. I wept. It was the strangest experience for me. I was touched by a deepening of my understanding of just how much Dad gave up to give Mom what she both wanted and needed, to be with her family. He gave up everything that I never had, a definite place that was home, where everybody still lived within three or four hours of each other. He’s probably even given up being buried one day with the rest of his family, all because he loves Mom. My respect for my father-in-law (which was already deep) deepened today.
Still no snakes!