Monday, August 25, 2008

Remembering the Past - Arlo/Alva Reunion

Yesterday we held what has recently become an annual tradition - the Arlo/Alva reunion. As we were growing up in eastern Iowa, it seemed our family's 6 kids (of Alva and Janice) spent nearly every weekend with the family of Uncle Arlo and Aunt Velma and their 7 kids. That is a boatload of memories when combined with camping trips, seemingly hundreds of birthday parties, running the "Weenie Wagon" at farm sales, friday night fish fries at the town tavern, and on and on. While the Ketelsen Reunion for the entire clan has been held the 3rd sunday in September forever, for the last 4 or 5 years, remaining matriarch Velma has called our two families together out to her farm near Sabula, Iowa. Time once again to dust off the tradional family recipes and have a picnic feast!

We had a good turnout this year - while it can be confusing when all the kids of the kids come (I recall Velma has something like 60-some grandkids and great-grandkids!) all the siblings were there save 2 of Velma's and my sister Sheri, who moved to Texas just a year ago. It was such a spectacular day - a beautiful blue sky and temps in the mid-70s! Velma had the buffet in her basement and we ate in the garage after losing some of her big shade trees in the back yard, but later we gathered in the shade to digest our lunch and catch up. Pictured are my brother Jim's daughter Breanna chatting with Velma, then her brother Brennan join her for a more formal portrait with their great-aunt. Besides a shot of the buffet line, there is also a shot of my sisters Linda (standing) and Kathy with brother Brian, with Kathy's husband Rich on the left.

A few miles to the north on our way back to eastern Illinois, we paused to take the quintessential image of a farm and the red barns. Back in the day of the family farm, this was what pretty much what all farms looked like. You might have had a few hundred head of hogs in one building, 100 head of cattle in another, with the lofts full of hay for wintertime feed. But with profit margins so thin and the flight of families to the cities, it really is a lost way of life that pretty only exists any more in memories - still strongly residing in our memories since our families all lived through it...

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