18 July 2013

Johnson Family Reunion 2013

For the Fourth of July weekend my Mom's side of the family all gathered in Fish Haven, Idaho for a family reunion. We do this sort of thing in different locations every three years. It was a sight to behold. All of my late grandparents' posterity were there- 4 children (and 4 spouses), 18 grandchildren (and 10 spouses plus one fiancee), and 18 great-grand children. With 54 related people in attendance, how may houses would you expect us to fill? Just for reference, those 54 people live at 20 different addresses in their normal life. But renting 20 different houses is expensive, even in Fish Haven. I'm not even sure there are 20 houses total in Fish Haven. And it doesn't encourage family togetherness. Even half that number- 10- houses is expensive in Fish Haven. Have you made your guess about how many houses we rented for the weekend yet? I'll give you a hint: It's the lowest number in common between the subsets of the Natural Numbers and the Whole Numbers. Since I know you passed 7th grade math, you know that that answer is one.
Fifty four people ranging in age from 0ish to 60ish all sleeping on beds soft surfaces for three nights. This house was cavernous. Along with the rental key came 24 flashing beacons and walkie talkies for in home use only. There were strings tied tautly from the farthest bedrooms to the kitchen so that cousins could stave off starvation in their isolation and find the food. (Divers exploring watery caves use this same technique to find their boats after their expeditions.) I thought one of my cousins' daughters wasn't at the reunion because I didn't see her the first two days; it was only on the third day that I learned she had been there the whole time, in a different wing of the mansion. The description, "She's my cousin once removed" will never mean the same thing to me again.
The sleeping arrangements in this house were anything but typical. As an unmarried male grandchild, I was pretty far down on the bed assignment totem pole. At the top were the married families with young kids. Some, though not all, of my family members fitting that description got bedrooms with private bathrooms.
The next level of bedroom glory went to the direct children of my grandparents. They organized the reunion, so they got nice rooms- though none of them got a bathroom attached. Farther down the totem pole is the young, married grandchildren. In one room with two beds and a futon, there slept the three newest couples of the family. All of them married, and all three of them sharing a room. At this point we're just about at the bottom of the totem pole. This brings us to the leftover married grandchildren after all the bedrooms were taken. If you thought three married couples sleeping in the same room was low, now imagine a married couple sleeping on a futon in a common area. Ouch. Sorry, Thomas and Mckell. And finally, at a point so low on the familial totem pole that not even a midget would notice we were there, fell the unmarried-but-should-be male cousins. Me and Clayton. Sharing a futon. In the common room. The ten people who had to share the bathroom with us stepped all over our clothes on their way to the shower. It was never intentional, but when you sleep in the common room on a futon there's no place to put your suitcase but on the only available floor space, which coincided nicely with the pathway between two bedrooms and the bathroom.
Let me just say I really got to know my family well over these three days (at least the family in my wing of the house).
One of the tractors that put
boats in the water.
There were some really great activities on this reunion. We made and shot off rockets, tried to put water in a pourous PVC pipe for fun, made newspaper wedding dresses, and rented boats and jet skis on Bear Lake. My favorite of the activities was the boating. The fun thing about Bear Lake is, well, the bears. They are everywhere! On the beach, in the lake, eating your food, and getting into your car. When I got on the boat for the first time I opened up the inadequately named glove compartment looking for a place to put my towel, and therein was a black bear cub. We helped him out of the chamber and got him back to shore near his momma, who was eating my lunch in my beach chair. It's like they think they own the place or something.
One truthfully unique thing about Bear Lake is that there are virtually no docks. When you want to put your boat in the water you attach the trailer to a tractor and drive the tractor directly into the lake until it's deep enough that you can push the buoyant boat off. It was bizarre.
This grossly inaccurate misrepresentation of my glorious family reunion needs to come to a close now. I have not written 1/100 of the proceedings of those wonderful three days, but I think you at least get a sense of what it was like as far as the sleeping arrangements went.
Two more tractors that put boats in the water.

Our rocket launching pad. My rocket exploded on this very site.

1 comment:

Anne Bennett said...

Thanks for the laugh out loud account! It was a delightful family reunion but just as delightful to re-live it through your post.