If vacations were perfect, what would we talk about in years to come?
I said that a lot during our time away from home.
Let me just preface this by saying it was wonderful to be with family. I saw cousins I haven’t seen since we were children, and our lumberjack uncle who lived in Alaska for much of his life. Quick story about them:
My mom’s brother used to be a lumberjack in Alaska, and we rarely saw him. One Christmas Uncle Steve came down to Grandma and Grandpa’s house during a family gathering. He had a big bushy beard, and his thick wavy hair was shoulder-length. I don’t remember what he wore, but I’m sure it was rustic. He was a mountain man.
When he arrived, he stood in the doorway with his eyes twinkling, and addressed all of us children in his gravelly voice. “Do you know who I am?”
Becky and Beth, my 4yo twin cousins, piped up in unison: “Jesus!”
We spent time with mom’s sister Aunt Lynn and got to know uncle Roger better too, and of course spent time with my sweet grandparents who arranged it all. And I’m almost ashamed to say that we saw far more of the family members who live nearby than we typically see. Apparently we all had to drive a thousand miles to spend time together.
All told, there were about 45 family members, including 11 of my siblings. A few were not able to attend. Our Tennessee sister and her family couldn’t come because she was great with child. As of yesterday evening, she’s holding that child!
We had a small talent show which included mandolins, guitars, a violin, singing, poetry, and a fun little trick by yours truly. Uncle Steve provided some background music with his banjo and gave a talk about Tlingit Indians since he has spent quite a lot of time among them while in Alaska. He has even studied the language and – I think – taken part in the tribal government. Our family shares Tlingit blood, so this was very interesting to all of us.
But I have to suspect that the most memorable bits will be the ones that went wrong:
- The van fiasco that threatened to keep us home right from the start.
- Our chicken pox scare.
- My forgotten garment bag with every scrap of my clothes except the ones on my back.
- The forgotten charger for our camera. Grrr. We got no pics except the ones from our cell phones. Fortunately we spent a lot of time outside, so the quality is better than expected. I was also motivated to master mobile uploads on Facebook! I’m just a beginner, though. Check out hubby’s uploads to see more.
- My laptop, dead for almost the entire week. Reseating the RAM worked once or twice, then it didn’t. As it turned out, it needed new RAM.
- The dead van. Hubby was prepared to replace the starter, but it was just loose. Probably because we rushed the mechanic who worked on it just before we left.
- The virus (or water-borne bacteria?) that swept through nearly the entire extended family in a matter of 48 hours. Much too fast for flu, if you ask me.
- Our “lakefront condo” with no lake in sight (it was hidden by other buildings), open sewage, musty rooms, rock hard mattress, blue shag baseboards, broken showerhead, pay-per-use housekeeping (midweek vacuum: $2; deoderize room: $3), no internet in the rooms… can you hear the horror music? zeet! zeet! zeet!
But the pool! Ah, the pool. That made up for everything. There were 4 pools, but the biggest and best was very close to our rooms, and became the central meeting place. The kids nearly lived there, and the grownups lounged about in a superviserly way. There were very few guests outside the family, and the few strangers were nearly all children.
All in all, it was a delightful week. We went to the Titanic museum one day,
and rented a pavilion for a picnic at the lake another day.
I was able to meet Carey and Terri, 2 local blog-friends at a Starbucks. Carey, I’ve already lost it. What’s your blog?
Based on descriptions, we all seem to live on the same piece of land, though I’m not sure how that is possible. Terri and Carey both had photos of their gardens, and I couldn’t tell the two apart. It seems they live just minutes apart!
We drove across the Table Rock Dam several times getting to and from other places, and it was hard not to slow down to 5mph to admire the view. Other than that, we kicked back and enjoyed each others’ company, doing our best not to look touristy. I doubt that we succeeded, but that’s OK.