It’s a holiday week. Many people head out of town, to play, to celebrate the 4th of July, to gather with family. In a little community tucked around Lake Dabinawa, just north of Lawrence, KS, a group of people joined together to do all of the above. Mark, Linda, Pam and Tim are Greg’s cousins. Bringing most of the members of their families with them, they’ve traveled from four different states to be here for this annual event. This year, Greg and I joined in the fun. For my first, I am enjoying the beauty of Lake Dabinawa and being with the Moore Clan for the 4th.
I have not seen most of Greg’s cousins for years. As teenagers, though, we spent many summer days together, playing in the creek, picking strawberries, and sharing family meals, when the cousins and their parents, Uncle Bill and Aunt Maxine, would visit Grandma and Grandpa Moore in the tiny town of Noel, MO. Fun loving and close knit, this family was always a joy to be around. Greg and I were dating at the time, yet to me, they were my cousins too.
We all grew into adulthood, married, had children of our own. We lost Grandma Moore first and then Grandpa. The cousins scattered to different cities, different states. Sadly, Greg’s mother and brother passed as did Uncle Bill and Aunt Maxine. Our children grew up. Life shifted and we all journeyed on. The last time I saw most of the cousins was at their dad’s funeral.
With Facebook, however, connections have reformed, pictures are posted and shared, and although still scattered, it has been much easier to stay in touch. I met up with Pam recently in NW Arkansas and met her husband Jay. And I was thrilled to be invited to the lake house to join the whole family for their gathering.
The lake is small but gorgeous and peaceful. The house has plenty of space for this sprawling family. It has been good to meet Tim’s wife, Lisa and their daughters. The lake house belongs to Tim and Lisa and they have been marvelous hosts, freely sharing their home and providing ample amounts of delicious food. Mark and his wife Kristy made the long trip from Colorado with two of their young adult children. Pam and her daughter and grandson came from Arkansas. And Linda arrived from Illinois with three of her six children.
Although we are all older, the gathering reminds me of our youth. We’ve laughed and played games and shared a meal together. As we lingered around the table after dinner, enjoying cool breezes on the screened in porch, the story telling began. What fun to hear the cousins tell humorous stories on each other. The siblings, although separated by miles and busy lives, are still a close knit family and it shows. Greg and I added a few tales of our own. We all remembered the grandparents and the parents who are with us now in memory and spirit.
It is hard to believe that we are now the parents and grandparents in the group and there is a new youthful generation making its mark on the world. We all have children and grandchildren to be proud of and much to be grateful for. Not the least of which, are the enduring relationships among this joyful clan. I look forward to future gatherings.