Why did 50 of us travel to Dodge City cow-town on Memorial Day weekend? Some of our family caravanned, a slow but fun way to travel, cars dog-tagging along, arriving at Dodge House Lodge before nightfall on Friday.
For the reunion, we wore matching t-shirts. Now that’s a bonding experience. We had cute gift bags, volley ball tournaments that lasted hours, card games, swimming and Billy Sims delicious BBQ. We made our own family tree on the wall, tracing our grandparents’ Sibyl and Fremont Pope’s lineage back to British royalty, well at least according to Ancestry.com. What fun! Then little acorn families popped up along the bottom. All we missed was the watermelon and a few family members who couldn’t show up.
Why do we do this? Why do we take time out of our busy schedule to gather together?
I thought about what family means, in particular my family. We’ve held reunions since I was a child, gathering elderly relatives, new babies, and strangers. Well, related strangers.
We do this to stay connected, or maybe reconnect. I was amazed at how different people played ping-pong or chatted over breakfast, ones who had never connected before. And grandma, oh my, she took individual pictures with each person present, chatting with them about their lives.
That’s the part I like, making memories.
All this is to create memories for our younger generation, and to also remind each person how precious and special they are. They are what makes up our family. We are a bunch of good-looking, creative, moral, and fun individuals. Diversified – different sizes, shapes, ages, colors. Maybe a little competitive. Maybe a little crazy. But we care about each other and that’s what counts.
Individuals have difficulties, days we have trouble getting through, but the support of a family is like a canopy of rare gems. We have to hold on to it, value it, and not let it slip away.
We are jewels. Each person shines brightly, reflecting on past achievements and future promises. Some like me may still need a bit a shining up after the failed starts, but remember that we go through this life together, a handful of people aging in the same sphere.
The lesson I learned this weekend: cherish each other, and go make some memories.