Tag Archives: family reunion

Break Time!

During the next two-to-three weeks, my blog posts will be sporadic…or maybe just non-existent.

Motor Man and I are coming up on a busy time: preparing for and hosting my family reunion,

a couple of boat races,

and perhaps a little “adventure” or two.

With life being so hectic right now, I think it will be easier to just put the blog on hold for a little while.

So, stay cool, enjoy your summer, and I’ll be back soon with, hopefully, some interesting blog material!

~These Days Of Mine~

Family, Food, Fun

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, Motor Man and I hosted my family reunion Saturday. (And let me just say publicly what a huge help he was to me: hauling chairs and folding tables from our shop and helping me get them set up, arranging set-up of the tent as well as some last minute yard work. )

I have a collection of vintage tablecloths that I like to use on the tables.

A bouquet of fresh flowers (from the Farmers Market, not our yard…) to brighten up the table.

I wish I’d thought to take a picture of all the food…. chicken, ham biscuits, pasta salads, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, roast beef on Hawaiian rolls, hot dogs on the grill, pies, cookies…I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Needless to say, no one left hungry.

Marshall and Motor Man always oblige me when I ask to have a picture taken of us.

We had a few cousins join us for the reunion for the first time in many years. It was nice to visit and catch up with them.

Ever since I can recall, there have been group photos taken at each reunion. This was the one of “my” generation.

Cousin Betty (wearing sunglasses in the above picture) suggested that we share memories of our aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents. That resulted in many stories, smiles, laughter…and a few tears.

We had finished our dinner and were reminiscing when Motor Man noticed a dark cloud in the distance. So we cut our visit short and everyone pitched in to pack up the food and help us bring in tables, chairs, etc.

Our guests left before the showers came.

And cousin Gene later shared on Facebook a picture of a rainbow .  This was taken from the cemetery we refer to as The Old Brick Church. Most all of our ancestors are buried there.

This photo would be special at any time, but seems even more so after an afternoon of sharing our memories of those who’ve gone before us.

~These Days Of Mine~








It’s That Time Again

*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~

Random Five Friday

It’s been a while since I’ve posted five randoms on Friday, so today’s the day:

1.) Motor Man and I hosted my family reunion last Saturday. My earliest memories of that event were when I was a child, and the family met at my uncle’s farm. We all brought wire coat hangers and roasted hot dogs over an open fire.  Over the years, there have been reunions with more than 70 people in attendance. This year, we had 14. But the weather was perfect, and we all had a great time.

2.) Last night, for the first time ever, I put a cat in time out.  Sundae has bitten me on the arm three times this week – all unprovoked and “breaking the skin” each time. Every time that it’s happened, I’ve been sitting at my computer, not paying any attention to her. Perhaps that’s the problem. I think she knows what she’s doing is wrong, because she immediately runs from the scene.  Last night, when she ran from the room, I closed the door, leaving her in another part of the house from Motor Man and me.  I’m open to suggestions….

3.) I took this picture on our most recent Outer Banks trip to see the wild horses. It wasn’t until I uploaded the pics to the computer that I noticed the neck-scratching taking place.

4.) I’m sharing a sunset picture from earlier in the week. It was at the end of an overcast day, and I had to wait for the sun to clear the clouds. So worth the wait.

5.) I recently purchased a “super size” external hard drive, and Marshall came to transfer all my photos off the computer. (YIKES….the idea of doing this is keeping me awake at night, even though they’re already backed up on another hard drive.) When we connected the hard drive to the computer via USB, we expected it to be assigned a drive letter.  But that didn’t happen. So, unless we can figure this out, I may be returning that hard drive for a more user-friendly one. Searching for solutions online has us even more confused. We aren’t IT folks: just regular people. Again, I’m open to suggestions….

Have a good weekend; looks to be a rainy one for us. At least, we have no family reunion planned.

~These Days Of Mine~


And Then There Were None

My mom was one of twelve. And each of those twelve took a spouse. So I had lots of uncles and aunts.  Those who married into the family jokingly called themselves the “outlaws”.  We didn’t think of them as in-laws, though, they were all our aunts and uncles.

Tuesday evening, my Aunt Betty, the last surviving member of that generation passed away.  She was the widow of Mom’s youngest brother, Stanley, who died in 2004.

Uncle Stanley and Aunt Betty lived in Pennsylvania their entire married life. But every summer, they returned to Uncle Stanley’s hometown, which was also my hometown, for a week’s vacation.

Aunt Betty embraced her husband’s family as her own.  His maternal genealogy had already been extensively documented, so she took on the task of researching his father’s side of the family.   In doing so, she stirred up quite the hornet’s nest when she learned that, apparently, his grandfather was illegitimate.  (Some in the family insisted that she just had NOT looked in the right place to find the marriage information, as well as the father’s name.)


One of my fondest memories of Aunt Betty took place the summer that I was seven years old.  It just happened that, while they were in the area on vacation, my mom took a bad fall and severely broke her ankle.  She was rushed to the hospital, underwent surgery and remained in the hospital for three days.

My mom and I were practically inseparable at that time, and it was just unheard of for me to spend the night anywhere else but with her.  But, that incident required that I stay the night with my grandmother (and the next couple of nights with my sister).  Since Uncle Stanley and Aunt Betty were visiting Grandma, Aunt Betty helped me get ready for bed that night. They had a daughter my age, so I’m guessing that she, too, probably spent that night with Grandma.  I just remember how kind Aunt Betty was to a little girl who was missing her mom and scared that she was hurt and in the hospital.

My mom’s family had an annual reunion (also here in our hometown in Virginia), and Uncle Stanley and Aunt Betty were always there.  Aunt Betty kept a “guest book”, and at each reunion, she went around to every person there, hugged them and had them sign the book.

A photo of Aunt Betty was shared by her family on Facebook this week, following her death. And this comment was left by one of my cousins: “Aunt Betty is now passing around her little book in heaven, getting the Ellis family’s signatures recorded for their reunion in heaven.”

Yes, indeed: sign in, all you Ellis family members.  Aunt Betty has arrived with the guest book.

Aunt Betty & Uncle Stanley
Family Reunion, 1998

~These Days Of Mine~

Random Five Friday

Perhaps it’s the lazy days of summer, but blogging seems to have become increasingly difficult recently.  I know I’m not alone, since fellow bloggers have posted the same sentiments.  Here are five completely somewhat random thoughts:

1.) Our frequent rain showers that we were enjoying earlier in the summer have come to an end, and keeping plants alive is now requiring daily watering. Adding to my chores is this beautiful planter I discovered at Lowe’s this week. I think it’s worth it.

deck plant 7-23-2015 6-20-37 AM

2.)  Sure wish I could grow zinnias as pretty as these.

zinnias 6-17-2015 10-06-20 AM

3.) We’ve had some amazing skies recently, including this sunrise from yesterday morning.  There are some advantages in being an early riser.

sunrise2 7-23-2015 6-10-16 AM

4.)  The biggest race of the year is tomorrow night at our local track.  The weather forecast for tomorrow evening: clear and in the upper 70’s. Sounds just about perfect.


5.) Our family reunion is scheduled to be at our house on August 1. We’re hoping for nice weather, as opposed to this, the day of the reunion two years ago. (See Random Thought #1 above….)

rain 8-3-2013 2-59-05 PM

Happy weekend! Wishing you nice weather…unless you need a rain shower.

~These Days Of Mine~

We Now Resume Regular Programming…

….and I’m back, after a week’s blogging vacation. This was the first hiatus I’ve taken since I began blogging nearly four years ago. It was a nice break, but I did miss posting.

When last we visited, I was stressing about the rain chances for our family reunion, which was Saturday, August 2.  And… it did rain. So, for the second year in a row, we entertained in our garage, amongst the hoes, rakes, ladders, etc.  But no one seemed to mind at all.  And we doubled our number of guests from last year: this year, we had 18.

It was a very busy week.  We enjoyed my niece, Donna,  and her son, Connor, being with us. Motor Man and I always try to find fun adventures for Connor while they are here. (Contrary to what he says: we don’t just ride, eat and take photos.)

He sat in a hydroplane (race boat) at Motor Man’s shop:

connor in hydro 8-1-2014 1-46-34 PM

And took a short ride (after he posed for this picture) in what may well be the world’s fastest “souped-up” golf cart:

connor on golf cart 8-4-2014 3-20-27 PM

We went to see “my” horses on the Outer Banks.

horses and 4 of us 8-4-2014 11-11-20 AM

We had lunch (there’s the eating part again) with his Aunt Barb and Grandma June:

donna june barb connor1 8-1-2014 12-58-41 PM

We also did a little beachcombing, took a drive out in the country and had lunch with my friend, Donna. (Connor may be onto something about us eating all the time).

Before we knew it, the week was over, and it was time to say good-bye.

bye pic 8-6-2014 9-26-26 AM

Is it too early to start the countdown until their next visit? I didn’t think so.

~These Days Of Mine~