Annie and Kathy--Hostesses of the Grand Event!
Aunt CB says:
It was a beautiful sunny day, cool with a sometimes brisk wind but we were happy. We'd expected rain showers so the weather was very acceptable!
Harold arrived early, Annie, Denny, Kathy and Gordy were ready for company and the tables, chairs and overhead awning were all set. Tablecloths were even held down by elastic cords and set with salt and pepper shakers as well as laid with grand pre-dinner snacks. Didn't take long after noon for the cars to begin rolling in.
Who was there? It's almost easier to count who wasn't there. Ruth would have been so proud, 3 of her 4 boys made it. Arnon, well, faithful Nancy was unable to make it this year, her van is too unreliable. Esther, I'm sure, would have blushed with joy, all of her boys came, leaving Julie to cry in Colorado! From Doris's Hawkes clan, only Charlie and Mary were able to make the long distance.
The Lochner Clan
Of course, CB's bunch, tempted by a grand meal and superior company, arrived in force! Pat was kept home by a virus and Beth by the Pacific Ocean. Tom, who often travels the farthest to get here, was bested by Sue and son Alex, who flew from California via Canada, purposely for the cousins reunion. That's 6 of the 8!
Of course, Kathy and Annie, the hostesses, were awaiting the bunch, having accomplished, already, a plethora of work and were still to add to it throughout the day.
As each car arrived, any with youngsters were emptied immediately (ever taken the top off a shaken bottle of pop?) and all fled to the field on the far side of the cottage where, conveniently, a picnic table with benches resides under a tall easily-climbed tree. Behind the cottage, between it and the shed, stands a temporary Port-a-Potty, a shield for the septic system. Really, the cottage is wonderfully prepared for the onslaught. Even Gordy's games, a ring toss and bean bag throw, ever popular, were set up and in use at our arrival.
The Grand PooBah, Uncle Harold
The very young group rather gravitated from mother and father to grandparents. Olivia Rook and Leah Walker (Annie's and Tim Kinsella's grandchildren, 2 years old) were still getting to know one another but it was fun to watch their tentative hugs! The high school/college group gathered to discuss shop, even though some had just started school.
Food? Glory be! Always more than needed. This year was a bit different, only scads of hot dishes until Jen arrived with deviled eggs and Liz brought her fruit salad. As for desserts, the usual pies, cookies, candy bits, veggie chips, with plenty for all.
Pre- and post-meal, the usual is to float from group to group. (After the meal, one staggers!) It is so good to get caught up on everyone's activities. As the afternoon began to come to a close, Rick Lochner brought out his "box of tricks" (firecrackers and fireworks) and all were treated to a rousing display.
The Kinsella Clan
It was wonderful to see everyone at the Reunion! As each car pulled up, it was like a new Christmas present to see who would get out next.
The Taylors were all at the cottage on Cayuga Lake, waiting for the crowd. Uncle Harold was talking with Denny Catherman while Annie and Kathy were inside putting finishing touches on the arrangements. Jessica and Eric Rook were running after their two-year-old, Olivia, helped by their friend Brittany, while Gordy Mills was hauling big, beautiful tomatoes from his garden out of his truck.
Aunt CB, Uncle Jack, Alex and I were among the first to arrive, but right behind us were Jim and Jill Kinsella with their kids, Maddy and Kelly. The girls immediately ran off with Abigail Hauf (Kathy's granddaughter) to climb the tree.
David Lochner arrived with his new love, Anna. She was courageous to brave such a big crowd where she knew almost no one but she fit right in. He said they go to the gym often to do water exercises, including Zumba. I can't keep up with that on land; I know that David is an avid dancer, but I'm trying to imagine him doing frenetic water dances! He also told me that he's working on a 24,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that so far has taken 6 years.
The Maneys Tim and Rose Kinsella arrived, and soon after that, their daughter Kristin with her husband Tim Walker and kids Leah and Cameron. Kristin had just flown in late the night before from a business trip to Seattle. Two-year-old Leah was adorable, hanging around with Olivia. The two of them played bean bag toss with much older competitors, then hugged each other.
Soon Leah pulled her grandpa, Tim Kinsella, over to the dollhouse. Tim started to tell her a story about Cinderella, sweeping up the coals from the fireplace. Then Leah spun the dollhouse scene to its other side, with Cinderella dressed for the ball, and Tim quickly adapted his story. She was enthralled with the dollhouse, which was exactly Jim and Jill's plan. They were determined to pass it on, and soon it was ensconced in the Walker car.
Kathy showed me photos of fabulous woodworking that Gordy had done. She said she's getting exercise, too, although different from Dave Lochner. Her building's elevator has just been shut down for several weeks, so she's building up her stamina to climb several flights of stairs every day. Once she gets up to her office, she makes sure not to have to come down until she can go home!
Uncle Harold held court at one of the picnic tables, along with Uncle Jack. They have been through so many life stories together, both adventures and crises, starting around 65 years ago when both were in Texas. Uncle Harold was in the Army there when Uncle Jack took a break from studies at the University of Texas to go meet his girlfriend's little brother.
Mary and Charlie Hawkes
At the Reunion, everyone took turns going to sit and talk with Uncle Harold. There was no way that Aunt CB, however, was going to sit still. She was constantly on the move, helping Annie and Kathy get the food ready, reading kids' books to her great-granddaughter Leah, giving hugs to anybody available, and bartering empty canning jelly jars for fresh tomatoes from Kathy and Gordy.
Chuck Lochner arrived with brother Ted from Massachusetts. Wow, did Ted look great! He said he's lost over 100 pounds and he had shaved off his beard. He was so handsome! I was so impressed with his courage, dedication and hard work to accomplish that, and he said he's really enjoying inspiring others with his example now. Chuck joined the paparazzi in trying to get a photograph of everyone there, for all our benefit.
Rick Lochner arrived and his daughter, Sara, ran off to join the other kids. Soon Chris and Jen Kinsella drove up and their girls, Maggie and Bridget, joined the younger crowd. Bridget toted her collection of multi-colored rolls of duct tape and when I checked in with the kids later, I was knocked out by their creativity.
Meanwhile, Cameron was delighted to find Bridget and Maggie's brothers, Patrick and Joe, and the three boys wrestled their hellos all over the lawn.
The next car drove up and out stepped Michael and Lorraine Maney. I hadn't seen Michael for way, way too many years and it was great to talk with him. Lorraine proudly showed me pictures of their newest grandson, Evander Michael.
Soon Michael's brother, Richard, arrived with his wife Debbie, and their three great daughters, Marlene, Kathleen, and Colleen. Right away, Lorraine dealt out cards to them for a wicked euchre game. Kathleen was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Wizard Needs Hug Badly," and when I complied, I got back one of the best hugs ever.
Dennis, Ted and ChuckDan Kinsella arrived with his wife, Liz Lehmann, and soon after, Charlie and Mary Hawkes drove up, wearing matching Hawkes t-shirts. By then, we had formed a conga line into the kitchen to fill up plates of favorite foods, so they all joined in, as well. There were two kinds of meatballs, Aunt CB's baked beans, four dozen of Jen's deviled eggs, Dan and Liz's fruit salad, pasta salads, Kathy's fried cabbage, chili, and lots more.
Jeff Hauf and his wife, Carol, arrived just in time for dinner, along with their son Jonah, who was coming from his soccer game. My brother Tom pulled up and settled in at Uncle Harold's table. Lots of guffaws emanated from there; Uncle Harold is always in the midst of stories that result in unforgettably funny lines.
After dinner, roving conversations continued, with everyone trying to get some time with each relative. The ring toss and bean bag throw games were revived with great enthusiasm. A bunch of cousins settled in to a debate about whether college is really worth it, given the huge debts with which so many students are graduating. I think there were at least six different equally impassioned points of view. Mary Hawkes passed around pictures of the "mud-run" against breast cancer that she did in honor of Aunt Doris.
It was so great to see so many cousins! I hadn't been to a Taylor Reunion in way too many years. We missed all the others who hadn't been able to get there - Nancy, Julie, Cindy, Diana, Carole Ann, Pat, Beth, Steve and Mick Hawkes, Danny Maney (who I learned has just retired as a Colonel in the Army!), George, Mary Lou and Judy - oops, did I miss anybody? Well, we all missed you all!
Uncle Jack and Uncle HaroldYou can count on Rick Lochner to wind up the evening on a high note. This time, he neglected to bring his potato cannon but he had firecrackers and then beautiful fireworks. As cars of families started leaving, I wished that we could have more time together. I had just scratched the surface with everybody's stories and there was still so much to catch up on! But it was a grand Reunion. We're so fortunate to have this time to get together. Thank you, Uncle Harold, Kathy and Annie and your families for all the work that you put into hosting the Reunion and keeping our Taylor family together!
On an editorial note, There are MORE Pictures of this reunion. Just look over to your right and click on the 'Taylor Reunion 2012' link. Also, many of you should have received Chuck Lochner's email about extra pictures from this reunion. If you did not, and want to see more, email me (or Chuck) and I will send you his pointer email. He took terrific ones! Pat at Herdeg5@comcast.net