Memorial Day was memorable. Well, I’m actually referring to the weekend prior to the Monday holiday. We did remember the true meaning of the day, but the previous three days were quite a special camping experience.
The Missus, Evelyn, had come up with the idea several months before the actual event: hold a family reunion with our four children, the spouses of the older three, and as many grandchildren as could make it. She envisioned it located at the church camp where she and I spent many a summer and where our kids spent much of their early years. (Ready for this? The camp’s name is Mt. Misery, or, as renamed in recent years, The Pinelands Center at Mt. Misery. Yes, there’s definitely a back story.)
For all intents and purposes, the vision became reality last weekend. With the exception of two spouses and two grandchildren, everyone else was there. Older son Kim set up his Casita trailer for his four-year-old son, Domenick and him. Daughter ‘Chelley had a tent for three: her two children, Steph and Larissa, and her; and younger son Kevin had just bought a new tent large enough to accommodate wife Jenn, three of their four kids, Kai, Kaden, and Kali, and him. Daughter Karlyn stayed with Evelyn and me in our motor home.
Just being together with most of our immediate family was very special, since the occasions for such gatherings happen much less frequently than we would like. While each family brought their own meals, we did manage to eat most of them together under the screen house that Evelyn and I put up for the first time. I had taken our two bicycles and was able to eke out a half-hour or so to ride mine with Domenick.
The older grandchildren and Karlyn passed much of their time playing the card game, UNO. Evelyn had brought some coloring books and crayons for the younger set. We even held a very brief devotional time on Sunday morning singing a couple of familiar songs which I played on the guitar (I even wore an appropriate t-shirt that said, “Some Grandpas play Bingo, but real Grandpas play the guitar”). Later Sunday afternoon I was introduced to “magnet fishing” (very different, and a lot of fun)!
Somewhere along the line we managed to get all the grands and their new friends from another camping family together for a massive water balloon “fight” (over 300 balloons sacrificed their bloated little selves that afternoon).
The significance of the weekend, to me, was simply in being connected in person with the people who, by definition, are our nuclear family. My hope is that a few memories were made, especially for the grandchildren. Our times together, as I said, are much fewer than I would hope they could be, so I want them to remember their Pop-Pop and Mom-Mom Kraft as people around whom they enjoy being (awkward, but grammatically correct, phrasing).
We need to watch for more of these kinds of opportunities. Time keeps ticking.