Thursday, October 8, 2009

Year of Reunions

This year was a big one for reunions in our family. My wife Sara did an excellent job of organizing 4 and catering 3 of them. She made great fliers, planned the menus and activities, and prepared and served meals.

In all, we attended reunions for the brothers and sisters of: her father, herself, her mother, myself, and my father's father. Unfortunately, because of conflicts we missed another one for my mother's brothers and sisters, that was held in Stirling, Alberta, Canada.

Earlier this summer, some of the descendants of Sara's father's parents met in Mount Pleasant, Utah. We took our motor home and enjoyed a few meals in the park and near the rodeo grounds with Sara's relatives. The group also visited a museum containing many of the works of Avard Fairbanks (Sara's father's uncle) in the nearby town of Fairview. This was followed by another meal and a penny auction, at which Sara did a hilarious job as auctioneer. We drove the motor home out to the Fairview cemetery where we found the grave sites of her ancestors. Unfortunately their gravestones have completely eroded away. Her grandfather was one of the founders of the town.

A reunion was organized for my grandfather's brothers and sisters and their families in the South Fork of the Provo River Canyon around the fourth of July. It was wonderful to see so many second cousins, including several that I met for the first time. My sister Colleen and her husband were there also. I hiked with them and their son Michael and my cousin John's son Caleb through some of the fields of the Conrad homestead on the bench above the home itself.

Later in the summer, Sara's mother and most of her children gathered with their families in Tamarack, Idaho. We rented a great lodge where we enjoyed meals together, and watched the video "Dan in Real Life". Many of us went white water river rafting in the nearby Payette River. A great time was had by all.

On October 1st, Sara's mother and her brothers and sisters met for lunch at the club house of the community in which we live, across the street from our house.

That same afternoon we drove off to visit my daughter Elizabeth and her husband Cody in Rexburg, Idaho. After sharing a meal at a Thai restaurant, and breakfast the next morning, we drove to a great hunting lodge on Bridger Hill Drive near Bozeman, Montana. Interior shot here:

We spent three wonderful days there, with a fire crackling most of the time in the fireplace. Sara provided three great meals each day, and we enjoyed nature (including several deer and a chipmunk) and the hot tub, along with each other's company. My sisters Arlene and Myrna were able to join us, with their husbands. Unfortunately, harvest duties kept Colleen and her husband on the farm.

On the way home, we drove through Yellowstone National Park, stopping to see Old Faithful erupt, and visited Elizabeth and Cody again.

As we reflected on this year, and marveled at our great enjoyment of time spent with relatives, we thought of family and in particular of parents raising children, and how our reunions honor them. Today we found this quote from the April 1991 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in which Elder Dallin H. Oaks said this about honoring parents:
To persons whose parents are dead, honoring parents is likely to involve thoughts of family reunions, family histories, temple work, and commitment to the great causes in which departed parents spent their lives. [emphasis added]
This year we were involved more than just thinking about these things. Sara has done so much with family reunions, and I am very grateful to her for that. My sister Colleen does much with family histories, essentially writing an illustrated book for each ancestor. We all engage in temple work. Probably the greatest cause in which our parents spent their lives was raising their children, and we are perpetuating that through the generations.

1 comment:

Myrna said...

Thank you for the nice reunion in a beautiful setting with amazing food. Sara is so sweet! Someday, when I finish this dissertation and feel human again, I hope that I can do better at getting family together. I used to do better, but I guess it isn't the season anymore. But it will be again.