*Parts of today’s post are copied from one I published in 2011.
My earliest summertime memories include the annual family “weinie roast” at my uncle’s farm.
Everyone brought coat hangers, and we really did roast hot dogs over an open fire. Uncle Andrew pulled an old farm wagon up in the yard, the food was placed on the wagon, and we all gathered ’round.
My eager anticipation for this event probably had less to do with the food, and more to do with the fact that Uncle Andrew’s daughter, Nell, had horses. She would always let us children (one at a time, of course) sit on one of the horses and lead us around the barnyard. I can still remember what a thrill that was.
Looking through my pictures recently, I found this one of my late sister, Rose. This was taken in 1955; Rose would have been 17. The horse’s name was Topsy.
I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing those little legs on the other side of the horse belong to me.
I also discovered this picture of me – sitting on Topsy. I was probably around 10 when this was taken.
The location of the annual family gathering was changed to another uncle’s waterfront property sometime in the mid to late 1960’s. And it became the “family reunion” rather than the weinie roast. We no longer roasted hot dogs, but there was still an abundance of food. Another uncle began hosting the reunion in the early 1970’s, and it was held at his house until just a few years ago.
When the weinie roast first came to be (before I was born), the family was my grandmother, her 12 children, and their spouses and children. Grandma died in 1969, and the last of her children passed away in early 2011.
Motor Man and I began hosting the family reunion that same year, and have kept the tradition going. When I was a child, there were 70+ people attending the reunion. These days, if we have 15, we consider it a good turnout.
So, for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been busy getting ready: yard work, housecleaning, notifications sent. Today and tomorrow morning, there will be last minute preps: icing down water and soft drinks, setting up tables, grocery shopping….
This next picture is a treasure to me: Grandma and her twelve children. There’s no date, but I’m guessing mid-1960’s. Grandma and her ever present “pocketbook” makes me smile. And her eldest daughter, Mattie, was following suit. My mom is the 4th from the left with her hands folded at her waist.
Yes, it’s a lot of work to get ready for the reunion, but I know those dear folks in that photo are happy that we’re still celebrating family.
~These Days Of Mine~
Oh this is wonderful! Family reunions are a big part of family history. In ours they had competition as to who cured the best ham, covered dishes to die for, and started almost 100 years ago on the James River. Like yours, sadly, dwindling. Love your family pic, and mention of the purses
Makes you wonder…what was in those purses?? Finally, coincidentally, our reunion is Saturday too! Enjoy!
I think it’s wonderful to have family reunions – it’s sort of a “lost art” in a sad way but if there is family around, getting together to catch up, eat good food, share memories just HAS to be wonderful. I grew up with little to NO family but it was the kind of thing the “old timers” would talk about….. I hope this years reunion is well attended and wonderful!
My Mom loved the Maifeld family reunions, they started when she was young, and though not held regularly, were anticipated and enjoyed when one rolled around. Mom organized and hosted the last one in 2002. We even went to one in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1972!!! Family is everything – and I agree, the folks in your photo will be smiling extra wide this weekend.
Weinie roasts were a huge part of summer when I was a kid/teenager too! I remember them so fondly, especially the ones we had in late summer right before school started again as a goodbye to summer. We also had fall weinie roasts complete with hay rides provided by farmers in our church. Such simple fun. Folks here still hold family reunions but I’m told that not as many attend as they did in the good ol’ days. Have a great time with yours! Oh, and now from the photos, I see why horses are so special to you. 🙂
Definitely the tradition ! I can remember quite a bit from the times when it was at Uncle Bennies.. I remember the multiple tables of food, Uncle Bennie at the grill, and the tire swing in the tree.. and around the side was the metal hoop nailed several feet up.. try to get a ball through it… if you can !!
Family reunions are the best. Good luck with the weather!
Sweet memories! And easy to see why you’re a horse lover:) I just realized that you grandmother had 6 girls and 6 boys! Wow!!
YES! I LOVE family reunions. We still have them for Mom and Dad’s families – one in June and the other in December. I loved all the cousins – and there were many with Dad having 10 siblings and Mom having 6. I also remember when your family reunion was next door. We’d love seeing all the cars lining up to park. Lona used to carve different watermelon creations. Sadly the tree and tire swing are gone, but the pecan tree on which the metal hoop was nailed is still standing strong. It offers me shade in my garden. However, the metal hoop is long gone. Enjoy your special family today.
Family is everything. So glad that you have memories and continue to make more. What a blessing.
What wonderful memories you have, Dianna. We use to have the Hall & Horne Reunion when I was young and loved it. A few since I have been grown but like you not as many people.