Have you ever been to a family reunion? I don’t mean to brag, but I’ll bet my family reunion story tops yours.
I have a large family and we get together as often as we can during the year for holidays, birthdays, and special events, but we have never had an actual family reunion…until last month.
When I was a child, my parents had a cabin on Little River Ranch in the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma. We spent summers and as many weekends as possible at the cabin, and some of my favorite memories are of the times we spent there.
My sister-in-law, Susan, lives in Oklahoma, near the Kiamichi and Ouachita Mountains. There are tons of parks, rental cabins, and campsites all around her home, so ...view middle of the document...
Because the camp is “rented” on an honor system, taking only donations as fees, there is not a great deal of oversight on how the camp is used or in what condition the campers leave it. When Susan made the reservations in January, the place looked great. However when she arrived for the reunion ahead of everyone else, it did not.
By the time the first half of the family arrived on Friday, Susan had been scrubbing the toilets, showers, and kitchen for hours. Other family members pitched in to clean up trash and debris left on the campgrounds and to clear out the fire pit in which someone had piled everything from garbage to old tires. When the rest of us arrived around noon on Saturday, the campsite was looking much better.
My son-in-law, Tom, and my nephews, Raymond and Alex, worked all day Saturday gathering firewood to build a campfire to roast hotdogs, and marshmallows for s’mores. As Tom got the fire going, we all hung out around the fire pit, laughing, and catching up on each other’s lives even though the temperature was dropping steadily and it was drizzling off and on.
Around 5:00, my sister, Cindy, brought out a plate of hotdogs for the kids to roast, and as soon as we got them over the fire, the drizzle turned to rain. We all rushed back to the main building, changing our plans for an outdoor barbeque, into an indoor picnic instead. We made hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad and camp-style beans. Dinner was great and we all had fun talking and goofing off while the kids played.
However, the rain continued. After dinner, Raymond could see that the kids were getting restless, so he grabbed a Nerf dart gun and instigated a fierce indoor dart gun war. He, Alex, and the kids took over the chapel, darting in and out of the isles and ducking behind pews, as if they were re-enacting an old west shoot-out. George, Nicki’s large black lab, was having fun too, chasing the kids as they played.
Despite the continuous rain, everyone was having fun until the kids' squeals of laughter turned to screams and shouts as they all burst through the chapel doors back into the dining hall. Apparently, the storm, an overabundance of dinner scraps, and being locked inside for too long, had gotten the best of George. He had climbed up on the raised wooden platform at the front of the chapel and unloaded a large steaming pile of poop.
I can’t speak for everyone else, but I said a little silent prayer for forgiveness and made the sign of the cross.
Shortly after the clean-up crew finished in the chapel, my five-year-old nephews, Brayden and Ethan were playing, when Ethan asked for his turn to play with a toy that Brayden had. Brayden responded, “Okay, but let me ask you something first, do you believe in Jesus Christ?”
Ethan stood stock-still and replied, “Huh?” Brayden repeated his question, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” I have no idea what prompted Brayden’s request for a testimonial. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we...