My grandparents married 85 years ago today. They had nine kids, who had 38 kids--and my whacky first cousins.
So, 25 years ago on their 60th anniversary (the last one they would celebrate), we had the first Woodstock camping reunion at a YMCA camp, out in the countryside we all love. I think we were only missing one or two family members at that reunion. Pretty impressive to gather that brood together.
We didn't have to cook. The meals were provided. There was a lot of time for playing and visiting. K and L rode horses with Auntie Ree. We played sand volleyball and canoed. We laughed a lot. Ree and K were on a horse that trotted and jounced them around. K was hanging on for dear life! Volleyball players asked other players, "Did you buy a ticket to get in or are you planning to play?"
But, the main entertainment of the weekend was a family quilt for Grandma and Granddad. Each family had made a quilt square. An aunt sewed them all together with borders, and they set up a quilt frame in the main building. The whole family stitched a few stitches in that quilt during the weekend. Even most of the men put in a stitch or two.
That was a good weekend in many ways, but bittersweet.
My mom was having horrible back trouble and missed a lot of the weekend. When she was there, she was miserable. Within a week she would be diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma-- a cancer that came with a life expectancy of about two years tops.
And that quilt? Six months later, it was on Grandma's casket. She died of congestive heart failure that December.
Looking back brings smiles and tears.
Good times, followed by sad times, followed by more good times--and I guess that is life.
There is a lesson here. Celebrate the milestones. Make time for reunions. Enjoy the big and small moments. When the sad times come, it makes looking back a whole lot easier.