Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reunions

I recently returned from three weeks on my parents farm.  It was a wonderful time packed full of family, friends, celebrations, reunions, work, appointments and food.
35th Reunion of the West Lyon Class of 1976
Getting together with long time friends was easy this trip as my high school class had their 35th reunion.  We've all decided we haven't really aged (ok, a few of us have and some just lie and say "you haven't changed!")  Most of us are past the point of having to impress each other but you still want to put your best foot forward as you meet some people you only see every 5 years.  This year we planned to tone it down and meet at a classmates home instead of our usual golf course club house.  Wow, his place was beautiful!
Me and classmate Norm
The perfect location for visiting and relaxing with long time friends, with a huge patio, pond and breathtaking views.  The catered meal was delicious and you know you're getting older when you get excited about the soft serve ice cream machine and sundae toppings instead of an open bar!  We had some classmates who hadn't been in attendance for 30 years and an exchange student from Belgium who hadn't been back since she graduated with us! Linda and her husband definitely beat out everyone with having traveled the farthest.  These friends are lifelong friends.  You know, those people you can pick up a conversation with, five, ten or thirty five years later!  There was lots of laughter, sharing and plans to be made.
I made it back to hit a couple family reunions too.  There was the Cousin's Breakfast with the Berg branch of the Johnson family held at the Fryin Pan in Sioux Falls, SD.  As generations pass it's too easy to loose touch with cousins you don't see often.  Dad, my aunt Carol and Josephine are the only 1st cousins left of Grandparents Albertina and Anders Johnson who will have their Johnson Reunion August 7th.
I also got a chance to see more relatives from this branch at Mark and Marilyn's housewarming.  They lost their home to a flood last year and rebuilt on ancestral farm land where Mark's Great Grandpa Long homesteaded back in 1868.  They built their home overlooking the Sioux River with help from friends and family and held a barbeque to show their thanks and allow people to see their new home.
Margaret Swanson Scholten
The Swanson reunion was held July 3rd.  The generations are passing here too with Margaret the only 1st cousin left of Adolph and Greta Swanson's grandchildren.  This reunion was held in Brandon, SD at the Pizza Ranch.  Does food seem to be a theme of my gatherings while home?  Definitely.
Lynne & Ray Aaro and Me!
In 2004, I wrote a letter to my Mom's brother from her birth father's side.  Since that time everyone in my family was able to meet her brothers Don and Ray but me.  Due to distance and schedules I missed out on opportunity after opportunity until this summer.  Ray and his wife Lynne we coming to Sioux Falls for a few days and met us at the casino for the afternoon full of food and some gambling and followed us home for more visiting.  It was a wonderful afternoon of getting to know each other in person even though we've been internet buddies for many years.  We parted hoping our next reunion doesn't take as long as our first face to face one took!
I also met up with many others throughout the weeks home... neighbors, cousins Robin, Kacie and Bill, church family, friends,... it can't get much better than that!

- Always remember to slow down in life; live, breathe, and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that has left a place within your heart. - unknown

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