Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Michaelson Reunion 2008

Arriving is the moment you've all been waiting for: my in-depth coverage of the Michaelson Family Reunion in Star Valley, Wyoming! Following is many pictures, fun stories and all manner of great fantastic-y goodness! The reunion is ALWAYS held on the last weekend in July, and always the Ranch plays an central part of not only the festivities but also the feeling of the reunion. It is the starting point for us all. The place where our grandparents were born and raised, learning the lessons that shaped their lives and by extension, our lives. It is the ground in which our family tree took root, the land we all come back to. It is my first home. The Reunion officially began with the Hamburger Fry at the Ranch. Gathered below are my cousins and my uncle, discussing children while they await the sweet meaty yummies that Uncle Sid invariably creates on the famous griddle!
And Grumpy . . . uh, I mean . . . Tom waits patiently in line for his chance at the vittles.

The photo below is entitled "Lord of the Flies." G had quite taken control of his younger cousins with the great show of strength which was climbing into the back of the truck with the only soccer ball. He continued to lord his status over the other kids for nearly an hour, until my son, Captain Bairdo, was able to scramble up into the truck bed as well. Then it was more of a rule of judges rather than a dictatorship.
Rivulet tried to be the leader in her own little sphere as well. Here is Alex and Abbie in rapt attention.
But Abbie rejected the rule of Rivulet Rex when ordered to eat the plastic ice cream cone.
My princess was then able to make time enough to pose for a picture with her mommy.
(notice the broken ice cream cone in her hands!)

Captain Bairdo, after abandoning the truck for a hot dog and thence finishing said meal, retired to the sitting room to play with his cousin Olivia. Do you know where the marble is?
As my children were behaving themselves (like wild animals with their wild animal cousins) I was able to catch up with a few other relatives. Like my Beloved Grandma and Norda Beth.

Like my cousin Stacy, and her son Issac.

Like Tim. Yikes. I guess the fun is over!
After the dinner, I went back to the hotel and waited for my other cousins and sister to arrive. They did and after a good deal of hugging, we all went to sleep.
The next day was the REUNION Proper.
A Luau, to be exact.
Complete with grass skirts, laies and hula hoop competitions. Beginning with the children:

Rivulet soon discovered that she would have to fight to defend her title - and her hula hoop - from young encroachers.

I simply basked in my own beauty. Thanks to my cousin for the dress!
My cousin Debbie had spent a good many hours laboring on a quilt. The centerpiece of the quilt was this picture of my Grandmother's family. My grandma is the young girl smack dab in the center.

This is a larger view of the quilt, along with an enthusiastic "thumbs up" from my cousin,
Arizona Anna.
This girl is a hoot!
And here is my Grandma, all decked out in purple with a very realistic purple laie.
Love my Grammy!
Rivulet was tuckered out even before we ate. So she took a good long nap on the grass in the shade. Lucky duck.

My dad, who was taking pictures of the above mentioned cuteness, then showed me how he felt about having his picture taken. HA!

My sister, luckily, was not quite so adverse. Beautiful isn't she? For blogging purposes, she will be known here as she is known to her best friends:
The Japanese Jellyfish, who shall hereafter simply be known as PillBug, was able to make it down from Jackson Hole. Here he is, extensions and all, with our sister.

The Reunion was wonderful! The children played games and fought over plastic ice cream cones. The Lunch was delicious! And the Limbo contest sounded like a big hit!
Afterwards, we all headed back to our beds for a long summer nap. Captain Bairdo's head hit the pillow and kept bouncing up. I told him he could have a cookie if he would lay down with his eyes shut for just ten minutes. Three minutes of this and he was out for three hours!
During this time, Rivulet was unable to sleep, having napped earlier on the grass. I distracted her with T.V. and went outside to visit with my cousins.
We sat on our porches in plastic chairs and talked with the melodic freedom that one is grows accustomed to at a reunion. We see each other but once a year, twice if there is a death or marriage in the family, and yet the ties are strong and communication is open.
When StinkBug and Bairdo awoke, PillBug went back to Jackson for his show and the rest of us headed to the Red Baron for dinner and ice cream. Arizona Anna showed up with her husband and children. The next twenty minutes consisted of eating and laughing so hard the walls shook. Our other cousins, across the barrier could only wonder at what was so darn funny. Oh, the Uncle Vern stories and Grandma stories we could have told them!

Dinner finished, we made way to the Ranch again for CATAN and fireworks. We got Catan set up, and while waiting for the other players to show up, I went about taking pictures and carrying a few chairs over to the western side of the house.

Here is the Barn.

And here is what I got for my trouble. Remember last year? Apparently I can't go to this reunion without getting blood on my sandals!

Sunset over Sid's van. The van marks where the fireworks will go off as soon as the sun is deeply asleep!
It was a beautiful show. Muad'Dib arrived just in time to see it, too! What a trouper. He had worked at 3 am, gotten off work around 3pm, saw Dark Knight and still made it to Afton by 9:30! *Sigh in affection*

The next morning was the traditional Pancake breakfast. Sid again is manning the grill/griddle.
Every year I am pleased to learn something a little more about how he makes such a splendid and scrumptious meal!
Tiggermama and her daughter pose for a pic!

And Muad'Dib enjoys the family fare!
We ate our food and finished the game of Catan. I was so nearly winning, but Muad'Dib was playing the devils (StinkBug's) Advocate, and pitting every other player against me! And quite unintentionally, Tiggermama won! It was a close game. And StinkBug was just happy because she finally discovered land AND was able to build on gold!

In the tradition, we then hiked up to the Intermittent Spring. And the way it all turned out, it was just me, Muad'Dib, Bairdo and Rivulet.

In fact, here are Bairdo and Rivulet!
Muad'Dib, not suprisingly, was the only one of us who made it to the very top. The water wasn't intermitting (if that's even a word) which made taking a two year old up the cliff a little precarious. And Bairdo simply didn't feel up to the climb.
We waited for Muad'Dib down by the sign, and were eaten alive by both mosquitoes and horseflies. But only on the ankles. PillBug knows what I mean.
When Muad'Dib came down, I was given the camera and he was given the children.
He seemed to have a difficult time keeping Rivulet from joining her namesake!

PillBug and StinkBug came up the trail to join us just as we were heading back. I had a picture of them here, and it got erased. So imagine it. bah.

As you can see here, Rivulet was ready to get back to the car and head home. Three days jam-packed with cousins, and playing and snacking and being outdoors makes a girl hungry for chocolate milk and Dora. As least, that's what it makes MY little girl hungry for. Rest. Rest was really what we all wanted.

The Reunion this year lacked only one thing: spending more time at the Ranch with my Grandma, Aunt and Uncles. A hotel is great, don't get me wrong. It still is no match for playing dominoes into the wee hours, talking about where the old chimney used to be or hearing about Great Great Grandpa Jacob and his families.
So now that everyone has enjoyed my narrative, I would ask you: do you know where you come from? If not then HURRY, take the time to find out! My generation of Michealsons barely bare the name, and most of us are beginning to feel the urgency, the great rush of desire to KNOW where we come from. Who came before us and how they got there. To set foot where they have, to touch the same wagons they touched, we all yearn for this fulfillment in heart and mind. And to have family. I'm sure it's clear that I deeply treasure my family connections. And I should hope we all would, however we can, and NOW!


Tristan said...

Fun narrative! We weren't too far away from you guys, as we were in Jackson at the same time. Want to visit the spring sometime.

WildBound said...

Incredible Photos!!! WOWZERS!

stacy said...

what a beautiful post. i love reading what you type. amazing!
ooohhh my little jeff is not so little anymore. it was nice to see a pic of him. please make sure to tell him hello for me!
allan says that you all are getting together on thursday. i am so bummed that i am going to miss it. have a good time!

stacy said...

oh yeah, i totally agree with you...your sister is so beautiful. wow!!!!!!

Bethany said...

I love the photo of MD trying to keep your Riv out of the river. hee hee
Sounds like a wonderful time with your family.

DreamPacker said...

Love your photos and narrative. I feel just an edge of actually being there. Someday, I would like to visit. Love it when my kids go places and then capture it in fabulous descriptions and pictures!

Fedaykin said...

That was fuzzily nice.

tiggermama said...

Ahhh your so cute! Thanks for the great narative, and awesome game of Catan, you taught me so well! You should be proud!;-)

CowboyBob said...

Wonderful roots. Thanks for sharing.