Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Monday, July 4, 2011

2 Years in the Planning...

For 43 years, the descendants of my great grandmother Julia and great grandfather Andrew Fleming have gathered every year around the time of the 4th of July and spent 3 days connecting and reconnecting to family.  In 1973, I was the youngest at the reunion and that was my first reunion.  Like most of those early reunions, it was at Camp Joy and there was no pool, only a creek; there was no air conditioning (except in the chapel), only screened cabins and lots of fans in the dining hall.  There was nothing to keep snakes and wasps out of the shower house, and we thought the camp was great because the toilets flushed.  However, we also thought the Camp Joy was great because it reflected our family values.  It had a chapel, a horseshoe pit and lots of great outdoors to explore with cousins...all the stuff you need to make great memories.

So 2 years ago, I was elected to be Secretary for this year's Family Reunion.  I was excited to get to help plan it because planning is what I do EVERYDAY at home and at work.  However, I was also nervous because I knew our family's reunion expectations had outgrown just "a chapel, a horseshoe pit and lots of great outdoors."  People now expected air conditioning, who am I kidding, I expect air conditioning!  As family members have aged, people now need sidewalks, ramps, wider doorways, grab bars and shorter walking distances too to name a few issues.  Once again these are all things that I can appreciate too, especially with my family.

2011 Invite Cover
The planning started with preparing an invite with large print (14 font or bigger) on most major sections.  Then continued to preparing a menu that could allow diets choices for diabetics, no glutin, low cards, low salt and low fat diets and that kids would eat too...that was as easy as it sounds.  Compromises had to be ultimately made but most meals met my goals through offering variety.  Then the planning unfortunately had to include finding a camp as our usual camp had double booked our weekend.  I looked at 8 camps.  I saw neat ideas and terrible set ups; high price$ AND  lots of hills, steps, walking, gravel and little air conditioning.  Finally we found a camp in Niangua, Missouri that had a chapel, place to put horseshoes (the official "sport" of the family), and lots of great outdoors; but it also had sidewalks, curbless showers, grab bars, and LOTS of GREAT air conditioning.  (When we rented they also had a pool, but it ended up being torn out before our visit.)

Judging the pie contest.
Attendance was down this year in part to all the flooding along the Missouri River that has I-29 underwater and in part to gas prices, but we had 104 family members attend the reunion with some even driving around all the closed flooded roads to join us.  I think everyone had a good time, and I know the 12.5%, of the crowd that are my immediate family, LOVED it!  However, David says he's only going next year if his cousin Evan is there.

The last month has incuded all the final preparations and my front foyer became completely filled with food, paper products, games, prizes, etc. Now the reunion is over and my foyer is empty and I've enjoyed a nice long post reunion nap and I'm taking comfort in knowing the family rules say there has to be 6 years between being asked to serve again.  So now I have video and photos to turn into a DVD for everyone who attended and the minutes to type up and then my reunion work will be done.
2011 Bumper Sticker


  1. Camp Joy was great, I have SO many great memories of the place! Dodge ball, driving down to the swimming hole, moving all the bunk beds together in our cabin and all of us cousins sleeping on top in a row. I have a picture of Uncle Joe hanging up our clan banner one year, remember when we had those? There was a "beauty contest" one year, only over 40 females were allowed to be in it, Aunt Bonnie won because she was the one who made breakfast back then and threatened not to the next morning! I could go on and on and on...Doris Henry

  2. Enjoyed your story. I'm a former camper and served many years as a Camp Joy counselor (formerly last name of Pittenger) I'm sad/happy about Oscar Cunningham's "homegoing" and will be attending his funeral today, at Seminole Baptist Temple, Springfield, MO. I lost Fred and Cindy Fleming's phone number. If you have any way to contact them, please let them know.

  3. We did not know. I linked the obituary on FB to Fred & Cindy and a few others. I also had my mom call Cindy. Oscar & Gladys lived a life of exemplary service and I know Oscar had many eternal rewards waiting. The obituary is at http://www.bradfordfuneralhome.net/obituaries.htm for those interested in leaving online condolences. Thanks for letting us know, Leatta