|Late Afternoon at The Lake|
In years past, our family would gather as often as possible for holidays, birthdays, and just because we liked each other’s company.
Labor Day weekend was spent “in the mountains” (Seed Lake) at Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Bill’s place. We'd go there for a weekend in April, too, to celebrate the official opening of trout season. <(((<
Fourth of July always meant going to “The Lake” (Lanier) at Aunt Joyce and Uncle Gene’s house. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and boxer dogs everywhere. Fireworks at dark, hand-cranked ice cream from a churn. When it fell on a weekend, we'd all crash at the cabin and stay until Sunday. I never knew that this was a rare and precious thing. It was just what we did. So many happy memories of our times together.
Since the passing of my grandparents, the gatherings have become fewer. There are only three occasions that we now celebrate with a gathering: Thanksgiving, held the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, though that crowd is smaller each year, and 4th of July.
I’m not sure how our celebration of Independence Day got moved to August, but, I guess that’s just how we roll. Today was the day for our Annual 4th of July Family Reunion At The Lake.
My morning started out the best of all possible ways – with Leyland and Corey giving me wake-up snuggles and love. Mary and the littles had a sleepover with me last night. Just in time! I was about to nut UP from not seeing them for days and days. Leyland hung around with me this morning to help with the cooking, and then we rode to The Lake together. She is a natural in the kitchen, and loves to help. She did an entire batch of fudge by herself, and assembled the green bean casserole. She mixed all the ingredients for the hash brown casserole, too, and was a great help to me. It’s so much fun to have her in the kitchen!!
The weather was great, the fellowship was awesome, and it was almost the perfect day. Bittersweet, though, – as this was our first gathering since we lost Aunt Peggy. We miss her every day, but it sure didn’t feel right without her there today. And it’s so sad to see Uncle Billy not doing well. I don’t like this getting old stuff – not so much for what it is doing to me, but because it means their generation is getting into some serious elderly years. I’m not liking that so much.
It was cool to sit down by the water today, knowing that four generations of Dunahoo people have played there, sunbathed, skinnydipped, learned to ski, swim, and dive, and spend untold hours on the dock, riding in the boats, fishing, feeding the ducks, etc. We'd lie on those cheap plastic rafts and bob up and down with each passing boat, delighted when they'd come close enough to churn up the waves. We’d spend nearly every weekend in the summer at the cabin. The folks who owned the neighboring cabins did so as well, and it was like our little family community of Lake People away from reality. Some of the neighbors still come back to visit, and several of them still live there.
One of my favorite moments of the day was looking out over the water and letting the memories flood my mind. Our family has been so blessed. My grandchildren’s relationships with their cousins won’t be anything like what my generation was. My immediate family gets together on a more regular basis, but still not nearly enough. Time is the ever-elusive treasure that, sadly, enslaves us.
Which is what makes days like today so extra super special. Happy 4th of July, y’all!!