LOUISE: Love of Family

Wow! July is here which means half the summer has passed. Almost anyway. This summer has been filled with fun activities, or at least will be before it’s over. As I write this story, I have already been to one family reunion in Claremore—the Farrill gang on my mother’s side. What a good time we had at the lake, getting acquainted with cousins’ kids and grandkids and reuniting with relatives we hadn’t seen in years. Then in the middle of this month I will attend the Tucker side in Stigler and do the same thing all over again, but with different people. June brought the Jones reunion and I still love my late husband’s family as if they were my own and thankfully they feel the same about me. I truly enjoy family. I have relatives from all over the country. Some I have never met and probably never will. But even though we didn’t grow up together, many of us have connected on Facebook and have become bosom buddies.

Family is important, but not everyone has to be a blood relative to be considered part of your kindred folks. Another important event taking place this summer is my high school reunion. Having attended a small, country school where everyone knew each other, we have an all school reunion every three years. Not only do I see lots of friends from long ago, I get to be with my life-long girlfriends.

At Louise's most recent family reunionA couple of years ago some of my high school girlfriends and I decided to get together at least once a year so we descended on Bentonville, Arkansas for our first YaYa Reunion. We had a ball. Gaylen came from Stigler, Oklahoma. Yolanda drove down from Nixa, Missouri. Aundrea was a hop, skip and jump away in Fayetteville, Arkansas and I was in Bentonville already, visiting my oldest son and his family. Yolanda and Gaylen have been in my life forever. Neither of us remembers a time when we didn’t know each other. We met Aundy in grade school.

Then last year Bobbye joined our gang in Arkansas, coming from McKinney, Texas. She moved to our little community as a sophomore in high school and we became forever friends. In fact, my mother let me go on my first car date because we double-dated, my brother being her date.

This year we will all meet at our high school reunion just north of Henryetta, Oklahoma and Mary, another life-long friend, will join us. The six of us will visit our old school and act like teenagers again. We will laugh and cry together about all that has happened during this last year. We support each other no matter what. There have been many things to celebrate through the years. Marriages, children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. And there have been sad and difficult times. Three of us are widowed. Some of us have lost children. Some have gone through divorces. There have been illnesses and other storms of life. We are not untouched, but we wrap our arms around each other, whether in real life or on a Facebook chat. We are definitely family.

And if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, as my daddy would say, I hope to take one more family trip this summer or fall. I plan to join my children and grandchildren on the beach where I will walk barefoot on sugar-white sand with aqua water lapping at my ankles and a salty sea breeze blowing my hair. Now that, my friends, will be paradise!

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