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Joy in the Journey

July 3, 2013

by Linda Beerman
Family: "any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts and cousins" Then we added spouses, our foster son, Brice, and even a few friends...and that made up our fun weekend at a couple cabins on Lake Ocheda, a few miles out of Worthington. The family origin was mine, the Peters family, from Bigelow, Minnesota. Of course with my parents, Pete and June, being 89 and 88 years old, it has grown considerably since the beginning! We try to get together every couple years to have a reunion, and it had been three now since we had collectively met with each other.

We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. The place where we got together is nestled out behind a farm yard, and hidden from the world so to speak. It is so relaxing and uncluttered with the normal noises and stresses of life. It belongs to friends of ours, and they so generously share it with our family and many others who enjoy just taking some time off. We had a few sprinkles Saturday morning, but when the sun came out so did the paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, and inner tubes. Every age enjoyed some form of the water, even if it was just to watch someone else having fun. Our youngest campers, Brooklyn, 1 1/2, and twins, Erich and Bryan, age 2 1/2, even she got rides in a kayak with their daddy and grandpa. Big brother, Shane, 7 years old, loved the water, but also enjoyed learning a marble game with me. Games and movies occupied some of the teenagers' time together when they'd had enough of the water and needed to rest.

Friday night most of us congregated at our farm to begin the weekend with supper. My brother, Jeff, and his wife, Jane, from Yuma, Arizona, LOVE rhubarb,and they cannot get it where they live. (Except from the grocery store, and it is very expensive.) Because I also love the stuff, as does most of my family, I made three pies, plus one apple, and then all of the family decided to come join us. So our non-stop visiting, reminiscing, and laughing began then. I've decided over the years, after talking to many people, that one of our greatest blessings is that we all get along so well and never have a problem being together. Thanks, mom and dad, for just accepting everyone who ever came into our home. I think we learned to "get along" with others from you!

Some moved on to the cabin Friday night to sleep, while others arrived there on Saturday. Wherever they were sleeping, many stayed up to converse late into the night. I guess that is the fun of a reunion. You talk when you have the chance! I am the oldest of six, with four brothers and one sister. Tom is our bachelor brother, and he still lives in Bigelow in the house where our grandmother lived. Next in line is Jeff, and then Bruce, and his wife, Angie. They reside at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. My only sister, Julie, and her husband, Scott, live outside of Logan, Iowa. Our youngest brother, Kent, and his wife, Sue, live near Blair, Nebraska. Add to the group several nieces and a nephew, plus some grandkids too. Lots of hugs and smiles!

Because southwest Minnesota usually has its share of wind, the water fun was tricky at times. A little bouncy out there as we paddled or peddled our way around. Three of the nieces, Hannah, Molly, and Carolyn hooked their three kayaks together. They wove their way all around the little lake in the breeze. It was pretty funny watching my nephew, Jake, and Brice push a water- filled canoe back to shore, with only the end tips of the boat above water. The wind on the waves helped bring it in. Trying to empty that thing was crazy. It was so heavy!

My sister and I had a great canoe ride, but fortunately the lake is not deep because when my niece, Hannah, and I tipped our canoe over, we were simply standing in a mucky bottom! Once we caught our breath, we laughed over it all. I did lose one shoe, but the worst part was my phone in my shorts pocket. I had forgotten to leave it on shore. We did put it in a box of rice over night, but I"m afraid it is done for. It is actually kind of peaceful without it!!

When our family has these outings, everyone just brings an assortment of food and drinks, and we have potluck at most meals. We never go hungry, and of course some of the best fellowship is at our mealtimes. Saturday night we ended the evening with a campfire and Smore's, along with singing some old melodies from T-V shows, etc. It is amazing how your memory can remember tunes or words when others give you a few hints. I didn't know there were so many ways to roast a marshmallow! I like mine pretty black and melted, but others wanted just golden brown.

Sunday morning found us being lazy, but still enjoying the beautiful surroundings. At about eleven o"clock many gathered down by the water for a worship time of devotional words, prayer, and some singing. Who knew that our single brother, Tom, would sing a solo for us all? We then grilled burgers to go with fried chicken, so we could get ready for a visitor who was coming to share Bigelow's history with us.

Ken Zylstra brought slides he has been collecting, and he will actually share them at Pioneer Village on the 4th of July! He remembered tagging along with his dad, Gus, coming into my dad's grocery store in Bigelow when he was a kid. We had arranged this time especially for my dad and mom, but the siblings enjoyed all the old stories and memories right along with them. My dad was a grocer and a butcher at the Bigelow General Store for twenty years while I grew up. After a wealth of sharing between us, final picture taking, and sharing many "Minnesota good-byes", the crowd thinned out. It was time to go our separate ways. I'm already thinking about next time!



lbeerman@lismoretel.com


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