Since 1974 or so, my family has hosted a summer reunion.
We may have missed a gathering here or there in the early days but in the last thirty years this gathering has been the cornerstone of the season: all other events get scheduled in around this one weekend in August. I recently took on the chore of going through the old photo albums and scanning all the snaps that weren’t digital, then collating it all to create photo books. Whew-it’s been a trip.
There were the shag haircuts from the seventies and sideburns for some of the men. Plaid polyester pant suits and elephant leg jeans gave way to big hair and shoulder pads, mullets and track suits in the eighties. In the nineties, a new wave of youngsters were born followed by another wave in the next decade. In 2017, the oldest attendee was 95 and the youngest was fifteen but there should have been four year old twins; the fires throughout the province kept many away from our smoke filled valley. Each year was marked by some detail that might distinguish it from the one before, even though we have well established rituals.
Every reunion includes the following: unlimited dunks and lengthy swims in Salmon Slough accompanied by detailed analysis of whether the creek is colder or higher than the previous year; a daily walk to the Lillooet Forest Service Bridge, a barbecue Saturday night, viewing of the Perseid meteor showers, weather permitting, golf at the Meadows, early morning runs or bike rides for some and endless rounds of dishwashing and bocce. We catch up on each other’s lives while cooking bacon and eggs or while lounging about in lawn chairs overlooking the creek.
The books arrived yesterday during another rain squall; they were a welcome reminder that summer is not too far away. Flipping through the years, I see the faces of those who have passed away and am glad to have these images to bring back the memories of their voices and their stories.