I truly enjoy the drive through a varying landscape and cultural diversity. I pass through 8 large cities - Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, Columbus, OH, Cincinatti, OH, Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, Birmingham, AL and Montgomery, AL and arrive at the small town and rural area where we hold our reunion. At the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, I look out over Lake Erie, sometimes filled with large sheets of ice. Driving through Central Ohio, I see huge farm lands and feel a sense of a slower pace to life than I live. Into Kentucky and Tennessee, there is rolling terrain. In Alabama, along the way there are both ramshackle rusted tin roof homes that have no doubt been there many decades as well as upper middle class large homes on large tracks of land. You see old, old wooden barns that are gradually falling apart through neglect. Oh, the stories those barns could tell!
We hold our reunion on land "out in the middle of no where," many acres of land that have been in my family for generations, back into the 1800's. No, we don't care to rent a convention room and have a formal dinner. Not our style. Rather, we enjoy target shooting, walking the land, catching up on everyone from the previous year. And yes, the tales get bigger each year!
Any regular reader knows I am really into guns. We set up all kinds of target shooting scenarios. If the breeze is just right, we throw different sizes of beach ball into the water and take aim at them. If you hit in just the right place, the ball goes flying into the air! Another fun thing to do is shoot a plastic milk jug filled with water with a hollow point bullet. The water splashes all over! Then there are the regular peel off bullseye targets where many an ego has been crushed when your shooting partner beats you.
Eating is a big part of the day. This year we kept it simple.
And there is Aunt Ilene! She is 95 years old this year, Pam and Kenny's mom. She's going through a phase where she doesn't want to eat or drink. On the day before the "official" reunion, a few of us had gathered at the old homeplace. I made a sandwich for her and said, "Here, I made this especially for you and I want you to eat it." I then gave her a bottle of water. I watched her out of the corner of my eye. She ate a little over half the sandwich and gave the rest to the dog when she thought I wasn't watching. She drank all the water, eventually.
It was really a fun time. I look forward to this time every March or April. It is important to stay connected to your roots. It's good for your soul.