tagryn has been doing some amazing work annotating a lot of my Philadelphia pictures with extra information that he remembers from the city; and, yeah, it was really cool to see the Liberty bell out in the open for everyone to look at. It has broken so many times, I think a lot of people there were starting to draw analogies to how hard it is to keep freedom, it's so fragile and breaks so easily from all the different metals mixed into it; but when it's whole it sings so beautifully and rings to loudly everyone knows.
The reunion has gone amazingly well. There are lots of people here. Anne and David and doing an amazing job of housing everyone and feeding everyone and people have been very appreciative. Yesterday was a trip to the first US Marble quarry to jump in and swim over 100's of feet of accumulated water (a small side-trip to a yarn store where I did some damage), today was a trip to see Jet's great-uncle Walt and bring lunch for 25+ after I slept in *late* and probably should nap again. Everyone has been wonderful.
It was actually pretty fun building the thing with the company we had. In the photo are (from right to left)(back line first) Paul, John, and David, with Jet and Marina in front. Jan (Marina's mom) helped as well, and we were pretty impressed with how big a pile got built by the time we were done.
There was a little exploration of the pond on the property, which contained a multitude of polywogs and full-grown frogs. Walt and John were as eager to catch a frog as any of the kids.
It was a lot of work. We went in had grilled cheese sandwiches, and everyone decided they'd love to cool off in the marble quarry waters. The day was just beautiful. Sunny and still and hot. So we went.
The marble quarry is the first marble quarry in the United States, and you can still see big blocks of marble left tumbled about in all directions all over the little park. It's beautiful stone, everywhere... in piles where the kids lay their towels out on and sunbathe. It's really nice. The water is very, very deep... nearly 100's of feet deep. John lost a watch there four years back and never even looked, it just wasn't worth it. But as you can see, the cut, sheer faces make for some spectacular jumping off places for everyone to just jump off of and never look back.
The water, though, is just runoff from the nearby forest, so it's cold. When Jet first swam out to the jumping areas, he said, "I've never been so cold before in my life, I almost couldn't move my legs and arms to climb out." John was with him the whole time, so he would have had help if he needed it, but Jet did just great. He tried some of the smaller jumps out first, and then watched his older cousin, Marina, do the big jump a few times, and he got his courage up and tried it. He knew that the didn't have to do it, but he was intrigued enough to try it and after the first jump he went and did it again.
It takes even the adults and teenagers a little while to screw up the courage to do it, so they were pretty impressed that he would do it, too. That worked out really well. Both Jan and I had seen a yarn shop on the way to the quarry and the husbands and kids went back in one car while the two of us went and investigated. I bought some locally dyed sock yarn and some Kureyon sock yarn that Jan said, "You really have to get that." It's very good to have enabling friends. *laughs* I love the colors on the s150 colorway very much. *happy sigh* And it was really good to support a local yarn shop. The Black Sheep Yarn Shop out by the Quarry in Vermont is very good indeed.
Okay... a quick tree so you know whom everyone is.
The Filley family had two sons and a daughter: Walter, John, and Isabel.
Walter had one daughter, Anne, who is married to David Squires, and they have Kirden and Aeran.
John died a few years ago, and he had a big batch of kids, Bruce who is in Australia didn't make it at all. Brenda is a daughter and is married to Tim and they live in North Carolina. Jo-Anne is single but has adopted a little boy named Leo who is now 3. Susan came by herself this time.
Isabel with George had four boys, Paul, David, Walter, and John.
Paul is partners with Jan who adopted Marina.
David is partners with Mary, and both of them have children from other marriages who are over twenty who haven't made it here.
Walter is married to Cathie Elliot.
John is my husband. *laughs*
There are also friends of the Filley-Squires who come sometimes. Brad and Pam with their two dogs Dash and Domino. They help out a lot, with providing for this many people, it's a very good thing.
Friday dinner was the first time everyone had been together since 2005. Anne and David and several folks that helped in the kitchen made up flank steaks marinated in teriyaki, salad, some amazing pasta salad, and then strawberry shortcake for dessert. The local Dakota bread was just amazing. Everyone talked, ate, and talked some more. We ate outside because the weather was good, and then went outside for the HUGE bonfire. They'd gotten a good fire permit for it, and it reached the bottom most branches of the nearby trees.
The fire was good and hot and warm and everyone was out there for some time to just sit and watch the flames. That was very comforting in many ways.
By 10, Jet was half-asleep in my arms, so I got him to go into the Inn, and I drank half a cup of water just trying to keep my throat so I could read to him. And then I thought about writing up the day, but was so exhausted from the cold and doing everything with the boys today that I just went to sleep instead.
We brought all the pieces of the lunch to Walter's Assisted Living residence and set everything up on their back porch. There was a thunderstorm predicted for the afternoon/evening, so it was good having an awning over everything. The clouds came in and the cool air as well, after a muggy 80, the cooling off was very nice indeed. The lunch was just amazing. And everyone hung around talking with Walter and with each other until about 4:30 as everyone was getting a little tired by then.
We headed back and folks are now scrounging dinner as it rains pretty well outside. Everyone seems very content, though, after the huge lunch, and it's a good group of people to just be stuck in an Inn with and just talk. The three kids, Marina, Jet, and Leo are close enough in age to interest each other, and play together well. So that's been very good indeed.
Someone was kind enough to give me a quarter of a lime in hot water with some honey and that's made everything in my head stop pounding. So I need to go refuel on that, I think.