By Lesli Nolen
Published July 2011
I am still full. I feel like I’ve gained 10 pounds in two days. Chicken spaghetti, brisket, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cakes, pies, cookies, watermelon and fruit were just a few items that filled my plate over the last 48 hours. Food in this quantity and this good can only come from family. That’s right, I was at a family reunion.
Every Father’s Day weekend my husband’s family has their family reunion. We missed the past couple of years, but were bound and determined to make this one. We loaded the car and headed to Jacksboro, Texas.
We arrive at the house Friday night and start setting up. A little bit later another family arrives—cousins we haven’t seen in years. Talking and laughter immediately fill the air. The kids see the pool and are anxious to get in it, and in they go. It’s always cool to swim at night. Time passes and before we know it, it’s after midnight. We turn in, anxiously waiting tomorrow.
Saturday arrives and the family tradition begins by meeting at a local bank there in Jacksboro for lunch. Everyone brings a dish and we eat and eat and try to visit in between bites. It’s also a tradition that, when in Jacksboro, you have to go to Herd’s Hamburgers. They are a three generation, family owned business, established in 1916. So, we get our burger and then head to the bank. Due to its popularity, the burger stop is busy and there is a line so we are a bit late arriving at the bank.
There is a lot of reminiscing already going on when we get to the bank. People are looking at old photo albums. Some of the kids look through them and discover a picture of themselves when they were a baby and laugh. Then they look at the pictures of their parents and laugh even harder! There is always such a sweet spirit there as we celebrate precious memories.
After the bank, we pack up, including the food, and head to the house. The kids immediately change into their swim suits and slather on the sunscreen. Once more numerous conversations and laughter fill the air as the kids run and jump in the pool. With the heat of day on us, it doesn’t take long for us grown-ups and soon we’re in our swim suits headed for the pool too.
After cooling off and nibbling on some watermelon, we look up and see the men pulling out the grill and starting the fire. We think, it can’t be supper time already. We’d eaten all day. They light the grill and smoke fills the air. The menu consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, queso and other dips, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles—you know, all the fixings. But that isn’t the best part. The excitement comes when we are just about to eat and we notice it getting cloudy and looking like it could rain. We are all standing around looking up into the sky as if we’d never see a thunderhead before. The wind picks up and begins to blow really hard. It starts blowing everything away. So we begin picking up, and as we do it begins to sprinkle.
We all start clapping and hollering, thankful we are seeing some wet stuff fall from the sky. It doesn’t last long, but seeing the wet stuff is great! It cools things off and makes for a very nice evening. We are able to enjoy our meal outside with a little cloud cover and cooler temperatures. The evening is absolutely wonderful.
As the sun goes down I notice the noise level is down too. I look around and realize the day and the time with family is coming to a close. I sit down to take it all in one last time. And in my moment of soaking it all in, here comes my husband (remember, the fun one) picks me up and there we go—straight into the pool, clothes, shoes and all. Just one more moment to take in!
We have since made it home and I’m back to watching what I eat, catching up on laundry and looking forward to next year’s reunion.