Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's Reunion Season!
For as long as I can remember, and in fact since many years before my birth in 1956, the third Sunday in July has been the day for the annual reunion of my father's side of my family.  We meet at around noon at a cottage that was built many years ago by my uncle and his brother-in-law at Marl Lake, near our home town of White Pigeon, Michigan, and sit down to eat at 1:00 pm.  My cousin Don and his family are often the first to arrive, and if you don't get there before Roger, you KNOW you are late! 
Traditionally, Uncle Bob would grill hot dogs, and Aunt Velma made her signature pork and beef BBQs.  Every family brought dishes to share, every woman had her specialties, and we all had our favorites.  Grandma usually baked raspberry pies and made cole slaw and chicken and noodles.  Aunt Evelyn was famous for her baked macaroni and cheese.  There were always a couple of pots of baked beans and two or three plates of deviled eggs, and plenty of wonderful desserts.
When I was a child and my father and his four brothers were all young, nearly everyone would go swimming in the lake at some point.  The lake is not great for swimming, with it's mucky bottom and cloudy grey color, but we never minded and we always had a splendid time.    
There was usually a pinochle or euchre game going, and at some point in the day, my uncle would take any of us who were interested on a pontoon-boat ride around the lake. Grandma would put on her big-brimmed straw hat and sit on a lawn chair on the boat.  I think she looked forward to the pontoon ride as much as we children did!
I believe that I have only missed two Lutz reunions in my entire life.  One was in 1974, when I was a newlywed, living in North Carolina and too poor to make the trip home, and one within the last few years when we were at the Dan Barr Memorial Golf Outing in Hubbard, Ohio on reunion weekend.  
I look forward to the reunion all year, to seeing my cousins and their children and grandchildren.  My grandparents, born in 1888 and 1890, have been gone since 1979 and 1975.  My father, their youngest son and now nearing the age of eighty-five, is the last of his generation. 
Some years we have a large turnout, and some years not so many show up.  Some never miss, and some never attend.  This was an average year, fifty-five of us in all.  The first cousins, my generation, range in age from nearly seventy-three years old down to around fifty. This year, there were at least four generations of my grandparents' descendants represented, with the youngest in attendance, my cousin Roger's newest grandson, only two weeks old.  My grandchildren spent nearly the entire time in the lake, taking just a short break to eat and to swing for a little while in the hammock, while their dinner settled.  They are pink from the sun and tired from their day, and they will sleep very well tonight.
We spent the day with people we know and love, trading stories, eating wonderful things, laughing and just enjoying the company of family.  We are so blessed!  Our next reunion will be the first weekend in August, with my husband's family.  That weekend we will have nieces, nephews, brothers and cousins camping at our house, and it will be splendid, although not so very good for my weight-loss diet.  :)  Happy Reunion Season!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yep, I've got 'em.  I'm pretty sturdy when it comes to physical pain, but that was a whole new level of hurt.  I will be seeing a surgeon Monday to see if I have to have my gall bladder removed.  I am oddly nervous about this.  I've only been hospitalized three times in my life: when I was born, when I had my tonsils out at fourteen, and almost thirty-two years ago when my son was born.  I don't care for this surgical prospect at all.

In other news, I have never been one to wish to live my life over and make changes.  That said, I've recently found myself wishing for myself the ability to go back about two years, maybe three, and freeze time at that point.  Rich hadn't yet had the accident on our beautiful yellow bike then, and my sister and two of my best friends were still with me.  There have been lots of things that have happened in my life since the summers of 2008 and 2009, and not nearly enough of them have been happy.  
I often think I should try to change myself in some very major ways.  I should try to be less trusting, less open, less giving.  I should be more skeptical, more reserved.  I wish that I could be stronger, smarter, more sophisticated.  I wish that I could learn to look askance at the things I'm told and not be so ready to simply accept people as they present themselves.  I should be realistic about my possibilities and prospects.  
I should stop writing my own fairy tale.
Fat chance.  

Saturday, July 02, 2011

We're having a summer thunderstorm this evening, and I sat on the porch to watch it for awhile.  I used to write poetry, nothing good, but mine, and I haven't written any for many years.  As I sat there and enjoyed the little storm, the beginnings of this poem came to me as if poured into my brain:

Summer Poem for Missing Friends

Come, sit with me on this summer porch,
and watch the rain,
hear thunder boom and roll and gutters drip, drip, drip,
the skies awash to whisk away the evening heat.
We could speak of many things,
of spider's webs and dragonflies
and kites and shoes and motorcycles,
sip our sweet, sweat-beaded tea
the bits of ice dissolving into pools atop the glass.

The wooden bench-slats flex beneath our weight,
damp concrete floor cool underfoot. 

We'd loll and laugh and linger there,
our voices soft, our friendship strong,
a gentle breeze to tease my hair
and cool our heated flesh.

The smell of fresh-cut grass is good,
and, too, the scent of rain-soaked air
so clean, and light, and perfect. 

And how are you today, dear friend?
I've missed you so.
Will you please come and sit with me a bit?
I've saved a special place for you, right there.

It's been so long since you and I just sat, we two,
and spoke
and shared a glass.
I've missed you so.
I hope you're well, and have you changed?
I feel you, still, beside me here,
as if I could put out my hand
and take yours up within it.

There are such things that I would say
were I to have you here with me
to sit and watch this summer's rain
and hear the drip, drip, drip
of time too short and running fast.
I miss you so.
Come sit with me.

Rebecca Yoder 
Second Day of July, 2011