Thursday, August 16, 2018

If I’m With More Than Two People It Must Be Reunion Time!

Yep, when I look around I recognize most of the people I see (Not all mind you but most) so it must be the family reunion camp-out!

(In real time this was the weekend of June 23-24)

Since, by my own self-imposed rules I can't publicly publish family faces, this post is populated with non-people photos taken around the Holly Recreation Area where we camped and ate and talked and ate and sat and ate and - well, you get the idea. Since Mom doesn't do tent anymore, this is the cabin she and my sisters stayed in. (And if they ask at headquarters, me too. . .) It's several narrow twisty miles by road from the campground but we made it work.

I think there were 26 of us there this year spread across 6 campsites and one cabin, (Counting heads seems like an important ritual at these things and since I can’t remember the final tally for sure it might appear that I don’t care, but the fact is, to me any more than 5 or 6 bodies in close proximity just looks like A LOT and by that time I’m too busy fighting the urge to run away to pay attention to actual numbers.) and that included Pablo, an exchange student from Chile that lived with us for the best part of a year around 1970.

One nice thing about staying there in the parking lot behind the cabin (I mean in the cabin!!) is that in the morning, you know, before most are up, or want to get up, there is a 2 mile loop around the lake right out front of the cabin where I could start my day in peace and solitude with a couple 20-minute miles, pretty much like I do most mornings out on the back of the property at home.

I had to relinquish the ‘came-the-farthest’ award this year, but I don’t mind. It takes Pablo something like 4 or 5 different flights and the best part of two days of travel to get from his home in Antofagasta to Michigan. (Hey wait a minute! It takes me 27 hours of driving to get there plus at least one stop to pass out - I mean rest. I think I want a recount!)

The canoes come with the cabin, which looks out on this lake, but frankly with that many people there just wasn't much time in the schedule to fit much floating in, besides, kayaks are better!

The first time Pablo arrived in Michigan well over 40 years ago it was winter and since it was impossible to buy winter clothes in Antofagasta in those days, at the time Antofagasta being a small desert town and all, he walked out of the terminal to his very first glimpse of snow (which was actually just some left over slush there in front of the airport) in shirtsleeves. We took pity on him, being the caring and sensitive family we are, by dragging him up north the very next weekend to where our travel-trailer was parked in Harvey’s driveway.

Parked but not dug out. (Harvey, a family friend with acreage in the far north of the lower peninsula, had a big driveway!)

The next series of photos were taken along a 100 foot stretch of shoreline out in front of the cabin

At the time I didn’t think much of it because this was normal shit for our family, but I can only imagine what was going through Pablo’s head (In no small part because it was in Spanish and in those days I didn't know any Spanish let alone the swear words.) as he watched a couple of us dig down through the drifted snow in the dark of a winter night to free up the door to the trailer while someone else dug out the propane tanks so the valve could be opened, every headlight-backlit breath clouding around our heads in the painfully sharp air which was the best part of 100 degrees colder than what he was used to.

¿en qué demonios me metí?

And now, just to let Pablo know that we still love him, for the reunion we set him up on one of the campsites in my tent with my sister’s sleeping bag, my mom’s cooler, my brother’s camp stove, and the bathrooms a good hike away. Oh, and just to make it interesting for him, we threw in a number of passing rain-showers.

It just gives you a warm fuzzy all over doesn’t it?

I probably spent a good half hour covering those 100 feet

and when you take the time to look there's all sorts of things to see.

That leaf back there in the top center reminded me of the veins on back of my hands, my old-man hands. (Where the hell did they come from?!)

This cattail-pod is a little raggedy, but I can relate. . .

Just happened to catch a beam of sunlight just right. Which pretty much describes this year's reunion, (Except for the one cousin standing next to me in the run-up to the obligatory group photo driving a nail straight into my already compromised ear when she screamed across the whole campground for someone that was slow in turning up for the photo - - Don'tcha just love those group photos?) where there was a lot of good food, good visiting, and good times - and to wrap it up in the best possible way, (for me anyway. . .) after the four-day weekend we all broke camp and went our separate ways. (I know, I know- what is wrong with me?) 


  1. I'm allergic to family reunions.

    My cousin's family had an exchange student from Germany. On the way home from the airport after picking him up, we stopped at Taco Bell which was running a promotion for a souvenir glass when buying a beverage. About six months into the year, the exchange student asked my aunt why she never used the glasses the family stole from the Taco Bell. She was so embarrassed that his first impression of his host family is that they were thieves.

    1. Allergic? Yeah, that's a good way to put it. I'm allergic.

      Poor Pablo, back in the spring of '71 he was all excited to tell mom about a new mode of transportation he discovered. All he had to do to get from one place to another was stick his thumb out! - - Mom spent the next half hour ensuring that Pablo would never do that again. . .

      This trip he was hanging out in the WIFI zone down at the clubhouse communicating with family and it got dark. Mom sent me down there to fetch him 'back here right now' - - then she spent the next half hour ensuring that 65 year old Pablo would never do that again . . .