This is quite an update. I worked on it off-line before posting. It’s long. It’s spell checked. I decided to write it for my memory than for others to read. So it’s a little long winded and detailed. Read on if you dare 😉
Well, I woke up on Saturday and found Anna sitting by the fire. She’s one of the few members in my extended family whom I know well enough to hold a conversation with. She, her sister Laura and Laura’s BF came in late the night before while I was sleeping. They’ve always been fun to tease and talk to. Jose and Liz (couple) were also sitting there. Jose is hilarious, he’s an older guy (50s+) who is good natured and full of mischief. Always a pleasure talking/listening to him and/or Liz talk (and banter). Good, light-hearted people. Jose was my un-official companion for the morning as we made our rounds.
Now Saturday is the main event of our family reunion. It starts out with the cooks of the family making breakfast. My first stop was at Betty-Jeans who had French toast, biscuits, bacon, and eggs with cheese. Busy woman. She usually had a score of kiddies and a puppy named Tank in her tow. Tank gets the cutest dog award for the reunion, a golden retriever/lab mix with a calm/playful temperament. They’re a family I met just this time out. Next Jose and I visited my great aunt Lina (another character you can’t help but love). She made up pancakes and gravy. There were a few other camps with food, but I didn’t know the family members presenting. Really it didn’t matter much since I was already stuffed to the brim after two outings.
While sitting, talking and eating with various people Emily and Jessica showed up, all grown up and beautiful. Jessica also brought her cheerful roomy, Mallory. Emily and Jessica are extended family members that my sister, whom I’ll call Jessi, is close to. I never really had much contact with them in the past. People were introduced to Luke one at a time. Mallory was introduced to me a couple of times.
Not too long after Jessi, Luke and I went on a little trip. We walked up a path running parallel to the river. We passed the ‘cave’ and went to the cliff and climbed down. After such we proceeded to swim, crawl and walk back down river, over rapids and boulders. It was a gorgeous outing. Luke found a little waterway that went under the road. It was enjoyable and awesome but it seemed to take forever (hour and half). I couldn’t swim much longer than a stretch at a time by the end; my arms were completely out of energy. I think it will be a new tradition as long as the reunion is held at Cascadia.
By the time we got back everyone was already eating the second phase of our Saturday tradition, a massive potluck where every Jeffery family member brings on a dish or two. There were four picnic tables worth of food and deserts, a most welcome sight after the long swike (swim+hike). I gathered a plate and sat in the sun in front of my aunt Patty, she showed up while the Swanson’s and I were swiking. An older missionary talked about an experience he had in a far away place with rock solid gypsy boys. How now one would pay them any notice except him and these street hardened boys shed tears when he left them. It was a good story and he had an interesting way of telling it.
More talking and hanging with family members ensued until one by one everyone went down to visit the river. Here we go again. I walked down to the smaller swimming hole with Dad and Lisa. It was crammed packed with a Mexican family; there must have been at least forty of them. Dad jumped in. I soon followed with a deep dive, I was going for form and control, but I ended up smashing my left fingers into a rock, causing them to throb at me in annoyance. It could have been much worse, lucky me. After a while the crowd encouraged us to move to the other swimming hole again. It was completely vacant, but shady. I dove in with a little hesitation. COLD. After getting used to the water again I made my way across the river to a large rock with a rope going up a slanted side of it. I climbed it without much trouble and wound up looking down at the water 25+ feet below.
This rock and I have a history. Two years earlier, when there wasn’t a rope, it took me 15 minutes or more for me to jump off the stupid thing. I was just standing on the rock shivering and petrified. Finally I let gave my legs that reluctant instruction and I went into the water without any further complications. I think I remember Laura being angry toward me for that, she was afraid for me and didn’t want me to die.
This time it didn’t even take a minute. I was nervous, but I was up there and there was no other way down. It’s funny how a persons mind can change in two years. Dad followed my lead and jumped. We both slapped our hands pretty hard, but other than that came out able bodied. Luke climbed up to a lower jumping area and stood there for a while because he’s afraid of heights. In that course of time someone from Betty-Jeans family went up to the top and jumped. I gave in and did it again after encouraging Luke to make the plunge. It was a good swim, didn’t take too much more energy.
Everyone made it back to camp safe and sound. Soon after changing Luke and I started up another game of Pigs and Chickens. Jessi invited Emily, Jessica, Mallory and their brother Skyler to play. Dad and Lisa also joined ranks. While the game unfolded I got to know the girls and Sky a little better. Emily won the first game with little competition and was eager for a second. Everyone stayed for a second except Lisa. I won that one with some stiff competition from Luke and Skyler.
Once that was over Jessica, Emily and company had to depart for home. While Jessi was saying her goodbyes Luke and I got pulled aside to play horseshoes. Luke and I played against my dad and my uncle Mike. We won the first. They won the second two.
Finally Saturday has come to an end. Now it’s time to update about recent events.