Sunday, August 14, 2011

52 Blessings – A Follett Family Reunion

I’ve always admired families that have reunions.  Our family is just now getting to the stage where we can have official ones and Calvin and I are bound and determined to have them.  This week we borrowed a family to have a reunion with and now we are in withdrawals.

with·draw·al /wiT͟Hˈdrô(ə)l/ Noun

1.  term referring to the feelings of discomfort, distress, and intense craving.  These physical symptoms can range from mild discomfort resembling the flu to severe withdrawal that can actually be life threatening. 

This past week Ray and Cali hosted a portion of the Follett Family Reunion at our home.  Last night, after the last sleeping bag was crammed back in the closet, Calvin and I experienced feelings of discomfort, distress, and intense craving.  We had a grand time with Ray’s 3 brothers and 3 sisters and it was great to be a Follett.


Ray’s family came from Texas, Alaska, Utah, and Idaho to celebrate the blessing of Levin.  Last Sunday everyone gathered in Seattle

After church we went to the park to eat lunch and visit . . . 

Oldest sister, Holli

Youngest sister, Tracy

. . . and play a few games of bocce ball . . .

niece, Zina

 . . . and hold Levin.

friend, Rayme


nephew Mason pushing brother Izaak in the tire swing

youngest brother Rob holding the limb while oldest brother Johnny saws it
and younger brother Alan and niece Zina watch

A few days later, the Follett siblings came to our home. 

Calvin staked the big wall tent in the back yard and some slept there, while others slept on the trampoline, Rob slept on a cot, and a lucky few slept in beds. 

Tuesday night we had a crab pot clear full of potatoes and onions from the garden, fresh corn from the neighbor’s fields, clams, mussels, a few King crap legs, and shrimp from the grocery store, and a few crabs that Rob and Johnny had caught while scuba diving on Monday.

older sister Melanie carrying the crabs to Calvin while Ande watches

left to right:  Melanie, Tracy, Mason, Alan, Izaak, and Zina


We spent Wednesday at the water park.  And while I didn’t get one red, sunburned, blistered, torn-up-toe, or diving picture to show for it,  I did remember the food and towels.  We had a rib and corn feed that evening.  Most of Ray’s siblings live in Alaska so good, fresh fruit and vegetables are a rarity and a premium.  Not everyone met the five ears per person quota that night, but some did.  Later we topped it off with fresh peaches and homemade ice cream and a game of Werewolf.  I was the witch.  I saved Zina from the werewolf.


Melanie, Tracy, Holli


Thursday the Folletts rented a boat, jet ski, and water paraphernalia and we went to the lake. (*Note to Payne's....we're definitely going to do this next time we're together in the summer.)

At one point I thought, “This is the best.  This even beats Splash Mountain.”  

Tracy and me

And then I went into the lake.

It was great fun.  Except those boys were not happy until we were dumped.  And we could hang on for a very, very, very long time, too.

Calvin, Cali, and Levin

Ray and Johnny, buddies and brothers

And . . . we had corn again, and rootbeer, and hotdogs.

The Folletts
front row:  Mason, nephew
second row:  Izaak, nephew
third row: nieces Sydnee and Zina, and sister Melanie
fourth row:  sister Tracy, Cali and Levin, sister Holli, brothers Rob, Johnny, and Alan
fifth row:  Ray

Zina and Ray

On Friday, we slathered on the sunscreen again and went tubing down the coulee.

brothers Ray, Johnny, and Alan

Izaak and Sydnee, brother and sister, niece and nephew

the floaters

One of my favorite parts of floating the coulee was having an ottoman to share between several of us.  We had an extra tube so we put our feet up on it and visited as we floated.  Until a narrow spot came, and then it was each man saving himself from the weeds and aphids.

Friday evening Calvin and I stayed home, but everyone else drove up to Coulee Dam to see the museum and laser light show.  Calvin said once was enough for that experience and he had it twelve years ago.


Ray and nephew Izaak

brother Rob

Saturday morning they held a black powder shoot.  And then . . . and then . . . it was time for them to go back to their homes.  



It was a grand week.   In the words of Rob, "It's what this is all about . . . families," or as Ray said, "I like having my entire family around visiting me, because I never get to see them enough."

Calvin and Levin

It couldn’t have been any sweeter.  (Well, it could have been a little sweeter if Mark, Holli's husband and Zina, Sydnee, Izaak, and Mason's dad had been able to come.)

In fact, Calvin even wrote an e-mail to the kids a little bit ago and he only writes e-mails to missionaries.  He wrote, “the guns are all cleaned…..the tent is taken down and put away…………….the tables and chairs are all put away….the grill is parked under the willow tree…..i’m sweaty…..joe and ande and the folletts are all gone……and we’re sad…….dad”

Even Dan misses everyone.

Johnny and Dan

After the Folletts left he promptly went and killed a chicken.

In conclusion

I’m grateful to have been a part of the Follett’s reunion this week.  Reunions glue people together.  And in the analogy of the coulee, they remind you that you’re not alone floating through life, there’re a whole bunch of you sharing a tube.  God’s plan to put us in a family was utterly brilliant.

(Thanks to Rob and Ande for the majority of the pictures.)


Deidra said...

I've missed your posts! I don't know who is luckier, you or the Folletts.

I'm so sad we'll probably miss all of my family reunions while we live in Indiana (Labor day just doesn't work well since school has already started and traveling is more expensive). It's good to remember we're in it together and that family makes the best friends!

Jill said...

Oh my gosh, that picture of the boys at the tire swing looks like something from a magazine! It's fantastic!

This looks like so much fun. Maybe you and Calvin could go into business hosting family retreats or something.

Way to go on the tubing, you're a champ for hanging on so long.

Becky said...

What a happy, happy post full of delightful photos! :)

Isn't the world full of so many amazing people?!

Kathy said...

I love family reunions also! We had a grand time, the spirit of love and friendship was so strong! And someone near and dear gave us a huge box of cookies...I have been looking for a clue. I thought it was you, thank you! Want to know what gave you away?

melanie said...

I'd change my name to Follett OR Payne. What a great, fabulous week! Calvin's email was perfect. I'm always a little sad when that much fun comes to an end.

I LOVE the photo of you tubing. Priceless.

Nicole said...

What a fun week. I knew I should have ditched work and come boating with you. =)

Lyle and Mary: said...

OK, no offense I was reading your blog I thought "man those are great pictures Jane is taking!" (A little jealous because my waterskiing/tubing pics never turn out that good.) That littlest guy is growing like a weed and getting cuter every day. Looks like a fun time. I keep thinking its time for us to start doing family reunions. Now I'm convinced. Oh, and tell Calvin I loved going to the laser light show at the dam. Went at least every other year:)And you REALLY made me miss the farmers corn on the cob!!!

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

What great pictures!

Looks like you guys had a great time together!

michelle said...

I thought the same thing as Jill when I saw that picture of the tire swing. Magnificent.

I love the idea of borrowing family for a reunion. Man, Ray and his brothers looks so much like each other!

Your family events always make me want to be invited.