Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Family Gathering Beats Every Otherthing

Family Reunion accomplished! Our lively group of Swedes had a terrific weekend together, replete with remembered glories and battle stories. By the time we sat down to breakfast Monday morning, it was all over but the shouting. And the eating. And oh, yes, a little bit of crying, too. After a Country Inn-style feast, we reluctantly bid each other farewell until two years hence in Idaho. Here's the quick recap:

1st night...Sonoma Chicken Coop and a private room...
just for telling stories!

More Chicken Coop. And more stories, too.

2nd day, afternoon. Sue's house.
Still finding lots and lots to talk about.

A veritable gabfest in the back yard. Good food, too.

And, of course, dinner at the institute building...Baja Fresh.

All of which were followed by my storytellin' mama, who held us right in the palm of her hand for an hour or so telling tales of our grandma and grandpa's courtship and early years. It doesn't get much more interesting than that! In the end, we didn't have time to read Grandma J's personal history aloud as planned, but here is an excerpt from the family memory book assembled a few years ago by our cousin, Diane:

"Through the cold winter, we did have quite a lot of bad colds. My dear, faithful mother went from one house to another caring for the sick. I feel sure she cured many a case of pneumonia with her hot toddy and mustard plasters. She also delivered many babies. She had no learning for such things, but the fact was that she felt she had to help, and she did gain quite a lot of practical experience. When anyone was sick, they always sent for Sister Peterson, and many times she left her own sick family to do for others when she was needed at home.

"I also want to say this of my devoted mother. She was a peacemaker. Whenever there were misunderstandings, jealousy or other troubles, Mother would see to it that the parties meet and talk things over and with her help, many difficulties were forgiven and forgotten."

It seems that our beloved grandma was very much like her own mom, Great Grandma Peterson. (As it happens, I was on the receiving end of a few of those mustard plasters myself!) Both of these great ladies make us proud, if we do say so ourselves. (And we do!) It also makes us proud to hear that, when our grandpa's water investment went bad, he and his brother sold their wonderful farms to pay back not only their own debt, but the debt of their partners. They were as honest as the day is long, and we hope to keep that tradition of integrity going in our family.

Of course, there are other traditions, too. Like music, humor, love of the land, and love for each other...to say nothing of the tradition of belief that brought the family to this country in the first place. And while it's true that not every family in our tree continues that particular tradition, I sense that every family respects it.

Being with my extended family was especially sweet this weekend, and I feel more connected to them than ever before. Somehow, I have a feeling Grandma, Grandpa, and more than a few aunts and uncles (pictured below) were watching and enjoying the festivities. I sure did! Thanks for coming, everyone.

Grandma J., with six of her seven children
(and a few grandchildren), before I was born.
She's the cute little lady slightly to the left of middle.
And we all love her.

PS. Don't forget to leave a comment on my giveaway post and put your name in the running for your choice of five prizes!


Karen said...

This is one of my favorites things. I know others who dread a family reunion especially if it means your husbands family, but I love the whole thing. They are always a little to short and I never get tired of the gabbing and the storytelling.

Your reunion looked really fun and what a great looking family.

jen said...

Having read Karen's comment, I can vouch for her love of family reunions. And that I usually feel quite the opposite.
Maybe they'll grow on me as I age.

Momza said...

Family is what it's all about...the women in your life have created legacies that have surely been inspirational to the rest of your family and there can be nothing better said of them than that.

Love family reunions!

karen said...

Family reunions are always so much more fun that you even expect them to be. So glad you were able to enjoy yours. And may I say your blog looks fantastic?

Fiauna said...

I agree, family gatherings are the best. We had one this weekend, also. So much talking. So much laughing.

KC Mom said...

Very fun! Looks like a great time and great stories!

Karen Sue said...

I'm always disappointed by the relatives that aren't at our reunion, but that passes and I enjoy most everyone I sit and chat with...of course, if you're like me, there may be one or two that you avoid, but that's OK, too. I'm just a little sad that my kids will never know my cousins and their kids like I knew my aunts, uncles and cousins growing up.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Thank you so much for the story of the reunion. I would so like to have been there, but the past month has been a month of harried old hands, doctors appointments, house repairs (I now realize why my dad was reluctant to buy my brother's home for a rental. He had a lot of experience managing grandma's house and didn't want to get a rental of his own) to get ready for my renters. I would love to read the journals. I was a little shocked by the number of people in the pictures that I didn't recognize.

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