The Gathering 2011

Shame on me for not having posted sooner!

     Early last week I returned from the annual family reunion in Indiana.  We call it “The Gathering” and it consists of my maternal grandmother, her three children (and their spouses), six grandchildren (and their spouses) and eleven great-grandchildren.  In total, there were 27 people who attended this year — 20 of which slept under the same roof!  Thank goodness for very large bedrooms and air mattresses.

     In the past, I’ve slept in a tent and a trailer, but this year my mom, Violet, Dave and I slept in the basement, which worked out quite well.  In the midst of this heat wave the country is suffering under, the cool, dark basement was very pleasant.

     Violet had the time of her life.  Within five minutes of our arrival she was getting her finger- and toenails painted by an older cousin.  And then there’s the golf cart.  Grandma has had a golf cart for many, many years.  I remember going with her and Grandpa when I was a child to get the original golf cart.  This is golf cart #2 she has now.  The first one just got ridden to death.  Every year it is ridden by half a dozen great-grandkids at a time, until it won’t go anymore and is rolled into the garage to get charged.  Sometimes it has only been on the charger for five minutes before a couple kids walk up and ask if they can use it.  This year Violet went on many exciting rides, held in the lap of an older cousin, fearless and loving it.

     There is a lot of sitting around in lawnchairs that happens at The Gathering.  This year the flies were horrendous and I spent more time inside than in years past.  Scrabble is a great game to play if you don’t feel like hanging out by the bonfire, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.  I also read a lot.  This year I was reading The Clan of the Cave Bear; inside, outside, wherever I was I had that book, even though I didn’t get much read.

Long ago (before I was born), my parents built a house “up the lane” from my grandparents’ house.  My parents bought the land from my mom’s parents and as children my brother and I could easily walk the path between the houses any time we wanted.  My parents actually moved an in-ground swimming pool that had been at my grandparents’ house up to their new home.  My dad built a pool house to go with it and it is all still up at the house my parents built, which is now owned by a second cousin of my mother.  He is nice enough to let whoever would like to swim in it come up and enjoy themselves every year.

     Violet took a dip in the pool last summer, but wasn’t too keen on it.  This time she was downright terrified the first time I took her in (I meant to sign her up for swimming lessons this summer, but never got around to it — bad mom!), but quickly started to like it.  She couldn’t decide if she was afraid or having fun.  The second day we went swimming, she jumped off the diving board.  I was there to catch her, but she couldn’t avoid going underwater.  She’s so brave, she didn’t even cry!  When asked (several times) if she wanted to jump off the diving board again her answer was invariably, “No.”  I wish I had gotten a photo of her jumping off the board, but we did get a picture of her going down the water slide!  She did that several times — she would climb on about 3 feet from the bottom and slide the rest of the way down, and into the water.

     Violet took the best nap of the entire 5 days after that amazing pool adventure.  She was wiped out!  We came home the next day.  She is still talking about the fun she had “at Granny’s house” and I’m sure she’ll have even more fun next year.


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