Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Sweet, How Precious the Time ~

Once again I found myself above the clouds,
flying toward family, a reunion in fact.
My Mom's side of the family, Herndon, the family name.
As we approached the airport in Bozeman, 
my thoughts, my heart turned toward Mom who resides above these same clouds.
It was to be the first reunion of this family without her being present.
In fact, it would be three less this time.  Mom, her sister and a brother.
I was filled with emotion at the thought of doing this without Mom.
Trying hard not to cry, I told myself;
" It's only been three months, it's okay to still be emotional."
Only to then realize, no, it's been a year and three months without her.
The wound still so fresh, it felt much more recent.....
Mom loved this family above all else.
How she would chat up everyone she could get to over the period of a three day reunion. :-)
The day of our arrival we headed to the family home, which my Aunt Wilma owns today.
How great it was to hug her neck and that of my Mom's twin sister, my Aunt Marguerite.
Then we traveled a few blocks to my cousin Bob's where a few other cousins had set up camp.
Ruby and her favorite Hunter...

Love this photo!


I had to photograph some of his flowers, a green thumb to be sure.


We experienced a brief hail storm an hour or so later, that my Aunt a life long resident said she had never seen hail and wind so strong.  Though the photos don't show it but you could barley see through it at some points and the sound on the rooftop from the hail was crazy loud. Wind so strong, leaves were stripped from trees, which nearly covered every inch of our car...some trees uprooted. 
This California gal was a little unnerved :-)
 Sad to say, my cousin Bob lost all of his beautiful flowers I had just heart felt sad for him.
The next afternoon my husband Bob and I drove out to the Gallatin River where we said
 our I wedding vows on the rivers edge some thirteen years ago.
We had a glass of wine and watched the rafters go by..
Once again took in the beauty of this place, each time, as if for the first time.
Trying to imprint it in my minds eye, never to be taken for granted.

The big rock from which I stood to toss my flowers to the river, July 17, 2000 :-)

That evening 60 some family members met for dinner and attempted to catch up with each other.

Sister Deanna

My Aunt Wilma and Cousin Bob, with his kids...
 2nd Cousin Lisa with her Gramma,
my Aunt Wilma....

2nd Cousin Todd with his wife and son....

Saturday we met at the Thunderball Ranch (check it out on the web).
 My second cousin and her husband live and work this beautiful ranch...
I believe we had well over a hundred in attendance...many couldn't attend this time.
Two of the horses on the ranch are soon to be in the Olympics!
We had a day of visiting, looking at old family photos, and of course some good old fashion barbeque.

Turned a horse stable into this!

Beautiful stables, right?

Momma and her new colt....

Looking out of the horse arena.....

The Wall of Honor, those no longer with us, but never forgotten...

Sister Deanna and my Great Niece Ruby feeding the colt.

Love them

Some traveled from Missouri...

My 2nd cousin Ray and his beautiful, wonderful wife Jennifer who took us in for 4 days!
The third and last day of our gathering was at my Aunt Wilma's place in Manhattan.
Formerly my Grandma Goldie's home,
whose master bedroom was where my Mom and her twin sister were born.
Three bedroom, one bath home.......eleven children....
nuff said.......

Some us first cousins that were present, on the front porch...

Some of the second cousins and a 3rd cousin in the middle :-)

Cousin Bob and two of his daughters, Tifani and Nicole..

Bob, my cousin Gene, myself and Gene's wife Helen...

Cousin Bob, Aunt Wilma, 2nd cousin Amanda , cousin Linda and 3rd cousin Cait...

Cousin Linda, myself and sister Deanna

Us with Ruby Lu :-)

Ya gotta do it....

My favorite thing is watching the train pass by all day....(and night).....

Quarter retrieved!

Ruby giving free tattoos to the willing .....

The last day is so bittersweet.
Glad to have reunited and spent the time,
even met a cousin I had never met, look forward to the next time Jude!
Saying good-bye to all as we part ways, traveling to different parts of these United States,
it becomes more difficult to do so every time were together.
I do leave with a fuller heart, an even greater thankfulness that God put me in this family...
more aware of just how incredibility blessed I have been and continue to be in this life of mine.

Family that I love, it's what echos from my heart today......


  1. This is such a sweet post Debi. I can't even imagine going to the reunion without your mom. Your family is large and you are all so fortunate to be at the same place at the same time.

    Your photos are beautiful!

  2. Looks like a great day and a fun time!

  3. This post nearly made me cry, Debi, as I remember the family reunions we used to have. Like your family, there were over l00 of us when I was growing up. There's not a thing better than reuniting with aunts, uncles cousins who sometimes are our first best friends other than siblings. The stables are beautiful, and the one set up for the reunion, wow they sure went to a lot of work, and it looked wonderful. Yes, indeed you are truly blessed yet I can relate about going without your mom there. We won't have anymore reunions and that's sad to me. But, I have wonderful memories so thank you for reminding me of the way things used to be as I am truly blessed also. xoxo