THIS is a bonfire! We had the first annual Wachter family reunion Saturday at my niece, Jenna's house in Pennsylvania. Jen is lucky enough to have a darling log cabin/stone spacious cottage on four level acres, so most of the Wachter clan that was descended from my father gathered there at her invitation. The kids ran and played, we all ate too much, and the bonfire was a huge success. Various menfolk tested their mettle dragging full size fir trees from a pile about 20 feet high across two acres to the bonfire to keep it crackling and going long into the night. Those of us with more traditional tastes added chopped wood sections to the fire, and the warmth and glow from all of this was enchanting.
Meet the cast of characters. This is youngest son, Jon, bringing folding chairs to the bonfire set up.
This is Jon's eldest, Jon Russ, dragging his own tree to the fire.
Jon's wife, Shary, is NOT texting! She's taking a movie of the men dragging the trees and logs for the bonfire.
Jon and Shary's youngest son, Adrian, just "happened" to catch his stick for marshmallows on fire.
Sister Missy and progeny: Lara in front and Jenna in back.
Jen's daughter, Aubrey.
Jen resting after all that cooking and cleaning and stockpiling wood.
Missy's youngest, Lara, above, and her fiance, Jeff, here.
Grandma Missy reading to Jeff and Lara's daughter, Gianna.
Brother Elm's eldest son, Joey. Elm couldn't attend since his race track was open that day (Mason-Dixon race track). Joey and Jenna and Jon have a "special" way about them when they start cutting up together, and all political correctness is left waaayyyyy far behind.
Joey's son, Jakob.
Just a word about start-up reunions: they're every bit as much fun as long standing ones, and one of the best things about them is that you actually KNOW the people involved, since fifteen generations haven't produced 400 people that you've never met.
We have a Hake reunion every year. Hake was my mother's mother's family name, and although I grew up with my cousins and aunts and uncles, I am now a member of the eldest generation represented there, so I know almost none of the great-great grandchildren. And it's hard enough to remember the names of my own contemporaries. This makes that reunion more befuddling than befriending for me.
I think that's why my kids and their generation decided that having a family reunion with just my father's descendants would be such fun. There aren't as many of us to keep track of. And my kids and my brother's used to go with us to Murder Mystery Weekend at Allenberry in Boiling Springs, PA some years. It was an annual tradition for my sister, my brother and I to go to this event for 17 years, so we had at least one full weekend that afforded us time to catch up on each other's lives. I love that our children are now feeling the need to continue that weekend of visiting in a pastoral setting welcoming to all generations.