Growing up in a large, close knit family was awesome. On my dad’s side, we would get together for Christmases, graduations, Confirmations, birthdays, anniversaries, 4th of July parades, and reunions. We lived 3 hours away from my grandparents and the majority of dad’s family, so our trips typically started early, and ended late. There were many times when we would get home after 10:00 pm on a Sunday night. We never wanted those weekends to end.
This past January, I lost two uncles. My dad’s oldest brother, and the husband of dad’s oldest sister. Many of the cousins were at one or both of the funerals. We realized how much we missed seeing each other, and plans were made to have a reunion in August. We all felt we needed to gather for a happy occasion.
Over the course of the weekend, 73 members of the Bredlow clan descended on Thornton, Iowa to share stories, play games, and reconnect with one another. There are 65 of us in the photo above, taken by my cousin, Judy (check out her photography blog here). Looking at this crowd, and knowing that many members of this bunch were missing, was kind of amazing. I started counting, and I believe we number somewhere around the 99 to 100 mark now. I can just imagine my Grandpa and Grandma being so pleased, and loving every single one. That’s the kind of people they were.
When we get together, we are a little loud at times. We all like to chatter, and we all have pretty much the same sense of humor. If you can’t handle puns and sarcasm, you may not enjoy our gatherings as much. Some of us went on a tour of the places Grandpa and Grandma had lived. I had never been to the site of the last farm they owned, so that was super interesting to me. We also went to the two houses they lived in after they retired. So many memories of holiday gatherings, 4th of July parades, and summers spent with cousins came flooding back. After the tour, some went golfing, while others visited. We closed out our reunion on Sunday morning with a very meaningful worship service. I believe that our family is so close, and so strong due to the faith foundation that we have.
I am so thankful to be a part of this crazy family. We may not always agree on things – I mean, some of them are Packers fans if you can believe it – but when we get together, there is so much love. I am also thankful that we had a reunion this year. I can’t wait until the next one!
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