Anyway... had the shower, coffee, a bite to eat so I could take my meds. Packed the coolers and such stuff as I was taking and we hit the road, me, Pete and Thomas. This place was waaayyy out in BFE. Waaayyyy out in the woods. It was a nice drive, but jeez... how did Tina even find this place? And what in the hell was she doing so far out in the country??? I'm talking this was way out where the Rainbow People live. Who would have thunk you could find such nice facilities out there in that God-Forsaken place? Large wooden meeting hall, running water, refrigerators, freezers, commercial ice machine (which I sincerely considered climbing into and shutting the lid a time or two), two large microwaves; electric (obviously) clean restrooms, spring fed lake with sandy beach, large old oaks cleaned out beneath for playing and sitting... It was an alright place. Really pretty in a "rustic" sort of way.
When we got there some fellas whom I didn't really know (I think they were related to Robert's wife Wendy) helped me unload the trunk and then Monica and Joan helped me set up the salad bar. They didn't do it exactly the way I wanted it done, but hey! They were helping and I needed the help, so I'm not complaining.
Let's see... what happened then... I apologize for my brain still being a bit fuzzy. So much happened down there. Plus the heat nearly killed me. I think my brain is a tad "well-done", if you know what I mean? Then me and my aunt Debbie Jo talked a while. She liked my hats. Picked one out and wore it pretty much all day. Oh! I have to explain about Debbie Jo: She is my cousin Joey's mother. She was my uncle Allen's first wife. She always comes to the family things that Joey shows up to, and others usually, but always the ones Joey is at. For family reunion her sisters usually tag along too. Can't stand those girls. I love Debbie Jo, her sisters.... I would have to think twice before spitting on them if I saw them on fire in the street. Be a waste of good spit, honestly. Anyway... I always loved Debbie Jo and I always will. Some folks might think that it was weird for both of Allen's wives to attend a family function, but Joey is married and has three kids now and those three kids have a close relationship with both their grandmas. Okay, all three of their grandmas, since Joanna's mom is still living, too. Those kids have an abundance of Grandparents. And that's a good thing, as far as I can see. For some reason Joanna's parents didn't attend this time, and they were missed. Allen's second, and current wife is Bridget, who gets along with Debbie Jo as well as anyone can expect. She hasn't ever been anything but civil to her, but then, Bridget wouldn't be unless she was provoked in some way.
This is pretty much what we did before dinner:
Anyway... after we set up the rest of the food we all visited awhile and talked and watched the kids play then about 1 o'clock the guys carried in the meat and did the carving. There was pork, chicken, and deer sausage. There were all sorts of things like pasta salads, pea salad, deviled eggs (which I made) mac and cheese, greens, baked beans, a dozen or more desserts. There didn't seem to be as much food as there usually is. But then, there seemed to be an awful lot of folks that I didn't know, friends of friends and such that just showed up and ate and didn't exactly visit and join in with the rest of us. Somethings got to be done about that before the next one. Putting on one of these things costs way too much money for people who aren't much more than acquaintances to show up and partake without making any contribution whatsoever. Hate to be that way, but it does seem like bad taste to show up at a family reunion and eat what others bring and not even hang out with the rest of the peeps. Just eat and run... that ain't right, in my book.
Then, Jackie Petry said the Blessing and we all got in line. He always does the Blessing. He always does the funerals in our family, too. It's just like that. Known all of us all our lives, who better to bless us and bury us? I stood in line behind Debbie Harvell, whom I hadn't seen in just ages. She wasn't at the last few reunions. Then again, they were not in Florida, which is where she lives. I had a crush on her brother Billy all my life. I always thought he was the handsomest man going. Never mind that he was my Mom's age. Dark hair and eyes, tanned skin, tall, well built. He still is pretty danged fine, if you ask me. :)
This is what that all looked like:
Lord, there were so many people there and so few who brought dishes that if it hadn't been for my little salad bar there wouldn't have been anything to go with the meat for those of us at the end of the line. But it was hot and raw fruits and veggies was about all I could stand anyway. Thomas had a Ceaser salad with some of the smoked chicken meat on it. I had some chicken, some port and some salad and mostly fruits. I really chowed down on that fruit. It was so cool and refreshing. The kids all liked it too. I was glad I did it. Otherwise there wouldn't have been much that the kiddies liked. They ate all the bananas and grapes right away, and then did a good bit of damage to the baby carrots and broccoli and cauliflower. Everyone was snacking on that stuff before it was time to eat actually, so I was glad I brought plenty.
No one thought to bring any bread or rolls or anything like that. Tina was moaning on and on about how she knew she should have made that Mexican cornbread. But she was so busy cooking all that gumbo and doing so much else. Tending kids, playing hostess to every one who showed up at her door needing a bed... when did she have time? I could have made biscuits, should have, probably, but I didn't have the time either. Well, there was plenty of food, anyway. The desserts where marvelous and I had a bite of almost all of them. There were two nanner puddin's, a strawberry trifle, 4 or 5 different types of chocolate cake (of which I only had a couple of bites of the chocolate/chocolate one ~ that's chocolate cake with chocolate frosting), Tonya made a Hummingbird cake, which I did not have any of, they are much too sweet and rich for me. Monica's friend made a huge New York Style Cheesecake which I had a bite of, and which Thomas stoutly declared was "all right" but "not nearly as good as yours, Mom". Don't you just love him? He's his Mamma's boy, all right. There were a couple of buttermilk pies and some apple pies and some other things but you know what? Most of the desserts did not get eaten. I think it was just too hot. Plus everyone filled up on the BBQ. I think several people took some home for later. The nanner puddin' was good, tho. I did have a taste of that. Aunt Mutt (Aunt Martha whom my politically incorrect Grandpa called "Mutt the Diego") put me in charge of cutting and slicing the desserts, so... I sort of got to taste them all first. Or at least the ones I wanted to. She's so bad, knowing I ain't supposed to eat that stuff. But then, neither is she. I guess she did right. I didn't really want much more than a tiny taste of anything. I'm kinda off the sweets anymore.
Then... we all sat and ate and nibbled and talked and laughed and ate some more, and nibbled and so on and so on...
I will post the after dinner and Karaoke pictures tomorrow. I'm whupped for now.