Sep 28, 2013


It's been about two months since we returned from our annual visit with my mom's family in Florida, and more than a month since my dad's family held their family reunion.  That means that this blog is long overdue.  But my life is such right now that blogging time is harder to come by then it's ever been.  The chances of completing this entry in one sitting are slim at best, as I've got two little boys playing nearby as I type.  We'll see how it goes.

Our annual family photo, taken Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at Anna Maria Island, FL.  This year grandma, who will turn 90 next month, joined us for the occasion

The Maycock-Benson family reunion in Huntsville, Alabama. Sunday, August 18, 2013.  I along with my cousin Denny, Chuck Dudley and several others are in the photo virtually.  Look closely for the laptop just behind my grandmother who celebrated her 96th year, and who is the person on the right in green.

One of the nicest things about this summer has been the reunions. It was such a  joy to see and spend time with family members and old friends.

Two of my favorite moments were with my brother and sister. As adults we live in separate worlds much of the time; a far cry from our childhood days when it seemed every waking moment was spent together (and every sleeping moment too...given that we three shared a bedroom at my grandparents home on 905 Hart Blvd). The moments where we slip back into sibling camaraderie are rare, precious, and unplanned.  One afternoon, for reasons I can't remember the three of us ended up of us gathered around my mom's workstation in her office area, chatting about old childhood memories.  I can't remember now what we talked about, but I do remember the feeling of closeness I had with Vince and Dawn; the unique closeness that comes from shared history.  I wonder if they remember that brief twenty minutes or so the way I do?

This photo of my mom and my siblings hangs in my mom and grandma's office space.  It was taken in the summer of 1992, not long before I went off to college.

We sought to recreate that same photo 21 years later.  We took this photo on Monday, July 29, 2013, just a few minutes before Babs, the boys, and I began the long drive back to Ohio after a wonderful, restful two weeks with my family.

The second incident, I know they remember as it was much more exciting! A snake had gotten into the room where my oldest son sleeps in my mom's house and armed with brooms and our wits, the three of us came together to drive the intruder out.  Even as we skittered after the snake, I felt a wonderful sense of closeness to my brother and sister. I'd like more moments like these, but at least so far, I'm not sure how to manufacture them.  They seem to just materialize organically when we are together, and for now the best I can do is be mindful enough to notice them when they happen and appreciate them--and Vince and Dawn--for the treasure they are.

Here's a few other reunions of note from this past summer:

On our way back from Anna Maria Island we stopped off in Tampa to spend a few hours with our Saipan friends the Piersons.  Unfortunately, we missed Ken who was away on a bike trip, but it was so nice to catch up with Crystal and her girls.  We've been lucky enough to see the Pierson family just about every summer for the past few years.  Seeing them is like getting a little piece of our island home, and I hope the trend of our summer meetups continue.

You already know she's one of my heroes, but she's also a great friend.  It was wonderful to see Heather Rice, her husband Jerry, and their three boys.  This photo was taken at the first of two visits I had with Heather while in Florida.

At our second visit with Heather, we were joined by some of my oldest and best friends, Greg Wedel (center) and Chris Cotta (right) and his wife Carissa and two of their three kids.  Greg and I get together every time I'm in Florida but I hadn't seen Chris in something like ten years, ever since he and Carissa decamped for Alaska.

Chris is one of the smartest and most interesting people I've ever known.  He is one of the few people I know who really knew what they wanted out of life and actually made it happen.  It was really rewarding to talk with him again after all these years.  Hopefully it won't be another decade before our paths cross again.
Paul Wood is my oldest friend.  I've known him since the third grade and he's been faithful through thick and thin.  We'd missed connecting the past few times I'd been in Florida so I was quite happy that he joined us for Sabbath lunch our last weekend in Florida.  Unfortunately, we didn't think to take any pictures that day, so snipped this photo from his Facebook page.  We enjoyed an afternoon of swapping stories and laughs.  Paul is a pilot (the other person in my life, who like Chris, knew from childhood what he wanted to be in life, and made it happen) so hopefully he'll fly our way sometime for a visit!

I've never known my dad's side of the family well.  They know me, but until recently the reverse has not held true.  This has led to some truly awkward phone calls, visits, and Facebook friendships where it was clear that the person initiating contact knew who I was, while I couldn't quite place them.  I've enjoyed getting to know the Maycock family in recent years, and I really appreciated being able to attend the Maycock-Benson family reunion via Skype on the weekend of August 17-18.  A big thank you to my cousin Jason for going the the extra mile so that those of us unable to be there physically could also take part.

Jason working out the kinks of our Skype connection, Sunday, August 18, 2013

Getting ready to join the family photo via Skype as the laptop is carried out to the photo site in the backyard of Uncle Antoine and Aunt Connie's house.

Well, I did it in a single day, if not in a single sitting. Not bad!