"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Family Fourth


 As predicted, the 4th of July week-end was tons of fun.  When my kiddos and their cousins were growing up we always met back in Okeene for the 4th because that was home, no matter where anyone was living at the time.  Mom and Dad had a little cabin on this small lake near Okeene and we all spent several days out there every July, swimming, skiing, riding the sea-doos, fishing or taking turns flying off the end of the dock into the lake.  The 4th of July and Thanksgiving were usually the only two times we all got together as a family. No, everyone wasn't there every summer, but different combinations came down each year as the grandkids got older. This picture is from one summer when all of the siblings made it down to Okeene together.  There are several little kids photo-bombing the shot if you look for them.  When was this taken? I'm thinking maybe the summer of 1982 or somewhere around there. Mark would know for sure. He's the one recovering from a shark bite to the leg. My goodness, we certainly do look young, don't we.

Here is another one for you: Michelle, Audra, Liz, Kristin and Nick on the dock in 'O2.


      Now most of those grandkids are grown and have kids of their own and still some of us get together around the 4th to share a little time together. This year's attendees were: Jason and Jennifer's family from Nevada, Kat from Austin and her dad, Scott from Butler, Ok. who drove Great Grandpa Dotter over from Okeene. Mark and his daughter Allison drove down from St. Louis, the city on the banks of the muddy Mississippi.  All of my kids live in Oklahoma now so they were all here from OKC. Jim and Laurie drove down from the mountains to join us as well. Little Rowan Korenak took the honors of being the youngest person there this year, he is sixteen months and a bit, but his cousin, Everett was a close second, having only recently celebrated his second birthday. (That's them in the picture to the right.)
    We met at the Blakley farm for lots of catching up conversations in the shade of the Elm tree or on the west porch and were blessed with a piano recital by the Nevada Dotter kids. We set up the badminton net and gave it the old college try, but it was just too windy and hot to really get a good game going.  We have tried several times to resurrect the tradition that my brothers,     sister and I had of playing badminton together often but it hardly ever works out well.  TBW will not allow it and croquet simply isn't as exciting somehow.

      The farm looks a little bit odd to everyone this summer because my renter planted corn instead of wheat this time.  The plants are so tall, due to all this wonderful rain, that from ground level you can not see the horizon. That makes me feel a little bit boxed in and uncomfortable somehow but it is interesting to watch and listen to. I must admit I missed the sweet susurration of the fields of golden wheat, ripe and ready for harvest.

     Since sundown is so late these days we had time to watch some of A Capital Fourth on TV and see those fireworks blooming behind the monuments in D.C. before stepping out into a green dusk, alive with the night sounds, spreading our quilts on the grass and shooting off some smaller fireworks of our own. We walked down to the round bales of alfalfa afterward to watch the fireworks in the surrounding towns of Hennessey, Waukomis and Enid. Yes, you can see them all from our place, it is that flat here.
     We haven't been able to shoot off any fireworks for several years because we haven't had rain and fireworks would have caught everything in sight on fire.  Luckily we have had a very rainy May and June this year so grasses and fields are green.  Happy Birthday, America the beautiful!

       On Saturday some people left early, mostly those who had some driving to do before the day was over.  The rest of us had another round of fireworks with lots of help from the kids.  We started a new sleeping arrangement with the cousins, which I think might become the norm here at the farm. They all tossed their sleeping bags on the living room floor and the grownups and babies slipped away into the bedrooms. I think they really liked getting to sleep all together for the first time.
      This morning, after a breakfast of pancakes on the porch, Zach and Brent took their kids on an 'explore' down along the creek, to check on the stick house.  The kids all had camel-backs for water, as well as a few crackers….just in case.
We sprayed everyone with bug spray and off they went, while Abbey and Audra packed their stuff for the trip home and they and I had a blessed fifteen or twenty minutes to sit quietly at the yellow table and visit while little Rowan napped in his mother's arms.
     The only problem with the 4th of July, in my book, is that it is on the 4th of July….and is usually hotter than a pistol. Today, with everyone gone, I have wandered around the yard, picking up stuff and sweating like a horse.  It really feels like Summer here now, no doubt about it. Many, many thanks to everyone who cooked food or brought food, helped with fireworks and clean-up and everything else.  I love it that we can meet here at the farm for family get togethers some of the time now.  There is so much room to run and wander and play that it makes for a great time.  I think I will put up some ceiling fans on the porch before next year though to stir the air under that ceiling a little bit. Safe travels to everyone and we'll see you at the next gathering…say, in September? Yep, that's the next big family event, the wedding of these two lovebirds, Able and Kari.


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