“How I Spent My Summer Vacation”

Okay, it’s not one of those papers written for school, but I’m due to post a note about our family trip up to The Homeland and all our activities there — boring to some, even more boring to others.  Well, here goes…

The 14hr 2min drive up nort’ went about as smoothly as it could, and we arrived with most of the clan already there. The first couple days were spent visiting with family and friends, checking out the Polk County Fair, and getting over the “jet lag”. I swung a trade with a baseball card booth in one of the display buildings, and picked up grab bag goodies for the young nephews. Staying just ½ block from the fairgrounds is pretty darn convenient, and a nice location to watch the fireworks, too. And since we apparently brought our St. Louis weather north with us (we had a couple days of 90°F+/high humidity) the shorter walks were appreciated as well.

Friday night the four brothers and their wives had a nice supper at Joe Dimaggio’s Pizza & Grill. (My first car was a 1977 Honda Civic hatchback previously owned by Joe, and I got to tell him that it served me well. And yes, that is his name.)

We had a pleasant surprise when Max (our foreign exchange student from Germany back in the 80’s) dropped by in the middle of his business trip in the US. We were two Texans and a serviceman in Iraq away from the entire shebang.

Saturday morning started with a 5-K walk/run, and many of the clan were among the 140+ that participated.

Polk County Fair 5-K Walk/Run (K on the far right)

At lunchtime, we had a nice meal and cake to celebrate Wm’s high school graduation. She’ll be going to a different Big 12 school than Mizzou. Booooo.

Wm enjoying graduation cake

Mo and I then headed over to my 30th high school class reunion. It was beautifully planned — drinks and snacks, and a few hours of visiting and photographs. Amazingly, about ½ of the class attended, and to the best of our knowledge, the entire class is still alive. Most classes before and after us can’t make that claim; we’re definitely blessed in this regard.

30-year HS class reunion

The next day we attended the church service at the fair grandstands, then had another wonderful meal, this time in honor of my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Golden Anniversary lunch spread — mmm!

Although their anniversary is in October, we thought it would be convenient to celebrate their 50th while the family had reached critical mass. We have some accomplished BBQ’ers in the family, too. A good time was had by all…except maybe the bird entertaining us in the garage.

the happy couple

Didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the meal; Wm and I had to get over to the school to practice for the upcoming parade (yes, I volunteered her again this year). Our “community band” once more got to ride a flatbed trailer while playing a selection of four patriotic and/or march pieces, and I blatted with gusto the tuba part on my F-attachment trombone, while Wm “marched” in lead on the French Horn.

Community Band in the Fourth of July parade

Of course, no get-together is complete without the obligatory group photos, and this one was no different. With so many cameras present, SOMEBODY should have gotten a good one. Here are the best from our camera — first the entire crew:

(almost) the whole bunch

and then the “Runner Clan”:

Mo, K, and me — we clean up pretty well sometimes

After our goodbyes, we left Monday AM bright and early, carpooling with the Double-S’s, and made the 14hr 2min return trip. And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.


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