On my dad's side, we still get together occasionally, especially for weddings, funerals, and some holidays (and for my cousins' kids' graduations, when the drive isn't too great). On Mom's side, though, it's pretty rare these days. She seemed to be the instigator of get-togethers amongst her siblings, and nobody has stepped up to plan the occasional reunion since Mom died eight years ago. My cousins are spread around the country, busy with their own families (at nearly 40, I'm the youngest cousin--so imagine the ages of my cousins' kids--and grandkids--and how busy their own lives must be!), so it would take some deliberate planning to gather everybody in one spot at the same time. I understand what keeps us apart, but I miss getting together.
So, when I learned that my cousin Jill was throwing a party today in Minot, ND for the 50th anniversary of her parents, Betty and Herman (my mom's oldest brother), I knew that we should attend. Jill is close in age to my sisters and made for a good playmate when we'd get together. Betty is a gentle lady who always fed us well when we'd spend holidays at their house; I especially recall her bundt cake, riced potatoes, and flatbread. Herman liked to tease gently, but he always seemed interested in my school accomplishments and proud of me, reminding me with a smile on each visit, "Remember, I'm your favorite uncle." We were pleased to be able to be at their party this afternoon!
The girls had to sing for church in Dickinson, but we left immediately afterward and arrived an hour into the party held at Herman and Betty's church in Minot. We hadn't told anyone that we'd be coming, so the relatives whom we saw were surprised to see us! There was much ooh-ing and aah-ing over how much everybody had changed since the last time we had seen one another--and, of course, some of them had never even met our children before today. We made sure to take lots of photos and to visit quickly before the party wrapped up and people started heading home. We spent six hours (round-trip) on the road for probably one-and-a-half hours of interaction with relatives, but it was worth it!
Afterward we did a little clothes shopping at the Dakota Square before eating supper at the Royal Fork and then heading back to Dickinson. I'm usually the chauffeur, but Susan drove for this trip so that I could get some work done on the laptop for a meeting first thing tomorrow morning. (Thank you, Susan.) But now it's time to get to what most of you have come here for: the photographs!
The happy couple! Fun fact: Herman is wearing the same suit that he wore for their wedding! It's a dark blue wool suit that still looks in style and not at all "vintage"; if he hadn't told me, I never would have guessed that it was a 50-year-old suit.