A Family Affair

 

This past weekend, I was thrilled to experience my first family reunion with my husband’s family!  Being a blissful newlywed and such, I am still getting to know the multitudes of great-aunts, uncles and cousins on my Man’s side of the family, and the annual family reunion held every few years in a new and exotic location was the perfect place to hone those face-with-the-name skills every new wife is eager to assume.
This year’s locale was only about 5 hours from the Texas homestead, at a beautiful resort nestled in the hills of Arkansas.  We got a decent start on the road, (though, of course later than expected.)  Leave it to yours truly to not be packed in time.  (And to think I used to call myself a world traveller…sigh).

We arrived to a beautiful 2-bedroom condo (with the most heavenly bed evah.  If I could have experienced the entire reunion laying on it’s glorious pillow-top-ness, I most certainly would have tried).  We greeted my beloved in-laws quickly, before jetting off to a jam-packed weekend of activities all involving our precious kinfolk.

On the docket first one was a lovely wine and cheese reception given us by the wonderful Potter’s (no relation to Harry 🙂 )    We received more beautiful bottles of wine than we know what to do with! (Actually we DO know–party time at the homestead soon, folks!), Our little reception was followed by a most lovely luau cookout by the lake.
Despite the humidity and heat (that apparently we toted along with us from Texas), it was beautiful with a slight breeze blowing and down home cookout fare flowing, including the BEST hotdog I’ve ever eaten!

My Man with our beautiful niece Ansley

The gauntlet was also thrown down and  instructions given for a weekend long scavenger hunt challenge.  For the record, my Man and I did NOT win, but one of his sweet cousin’s families  who got up at the crack of dawn to complete the hunt the next morning were the first victors of the (yes, there actually was one)  Caldwell Cup!  (Maybe next year for us? Let’s not hold our breath…)

I was also quite happy to put on the dessert table the biggest and prettiest cake I (and my husband) have ever made!  Being the forgetful-Frannie that I am, we discovered I had not brought enough cream cheese for the homemade frosting recipe when we set out to decorate the top, but my wondermous mother-in-law saved us by helping us make just as delectable whipped frosting with what we had brought.

Many blueberries and raspberries later, we had our masterpiece:

Saturday brought even more goodness, and one of my favorite activities of the weekend was the first event up that morning.

Yes, that’s right folks.  Bloody.Mary.Bingo.  Be VERY jealous. 🙂
     I can’t not remember the last time I played I played bingo, but it may very well be when my age was in the single digits.  Blend in some delicious bloody Mary’s (mine was non-alcoholic…and fabulous),  mimosas, some snacks, prizes for each round, and you have yourself some down home GOOD TIMES!
My Man’s luck was clearly rubbing off on me, as we cleaned up in the prize dept.  My hubs won the Guiness mug pictured above, and I took home a wonderful coffee table book.  We had originally planned to leave bingo a tad early to go swimming, but it was so much fun, we stayed till the end.  (The grand prize was the $40 reunion fee, and  sweet Sarah Jean at our table snatched that right up!)  I’ve decided bingo needs to be a fixture at future reunions, and if my side of the family can ever get another reunion together (Sadly, it’s like herding cats, as my Aunt Cathy always says) we’ll definitely have fun with that!
The hubs and I had then had lunch at the resorts quaint restaurant (crab cakes and fish by the lake, oh my!) before hitting the pool.  There was a wonderful party there for the kiddos complete with a nostalgic sno-cone machine.  (Of which the adults also took full advantage.)
The evening brought scrumptious barbecue and even more fun and frolicing as we stuffed our gourds and reveled  in  long conversations and full belly laughter throughout the evening.
We had 3 flavors of homemade ice cream; peach, vanilla & mint chocolate chip.
Two beautiful ladies (my beloved mother-in-law Lee & Aunt Clevie) in the midst of pre-dinner prep.
     Another one of my favorite weekend was  a “Dive-In” movie by the pool.  It was a cute family flick involving football players and a sweet little girl with bedazzling tendencies (forgive me not remembering the title, hopefully that short description will jog some movie-buff’s memories).  As the hot sun disappeared into the horizon, the hubs and I dangled our feet in the cool water, and rested in each other arms, blissfully content.
    This weekend was such a special time for me.  I have always dreamed of having a close family who makes such a concerted effort to be together, and in marrying the Love of My Life, I have been given a tribe of beautiful, loving, loud, joyous Southerners who are blessing my heart and spirit by being the diverse, amazing people they are. 
And I can’t finish this post without sending a virtual  HUGE HEAPING of THANKS to Rudy & Jala, for organizing, planning and carrying off the entire weekend’s festivities without a hitch!!  They have laid the groundwork for future reunions and set the bar high for future reunions.   Being my first one, this one will always hold a special place in my heart.
“Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.” -Author Unknown

I rode home with my husband happy and gloriously contented.  I had been looking forward to the reunion for most of the summer, and it was truly a gift–I miss my new family already!  As we drove the path back to the homestead, I thanked the One who gives us life for the gift of the community of family.

“If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are. ”
-Madeleine L’engle

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