Thursday, July 02, 2009


The main reason for our "vacation" this week of all weeks, is that Sisters is an hour away from my extended family's annual 4th of July week reunion. 42 years in a row, and going strong.

Each day the gathering grows, the river gets warmer, the mosquito bites and sunburn lines increase. Most of these cousins I don't see all year, but when we meet up at WUG, we pick up right where we left off. We stick our now middle aged bodies into old swimsuits, apply the SPF 50, the spray with DEET, and grab a floatie. We slog through boggy water and duck under willow branches to climb to the top of the property. We 1-2-3 jump into the Little Deschuttes river and float away the last year of our lives for each other to hear, and the river to wash clean.

Beer O'Clock comes early and we move ancient folding chairs into the water and enjoy the best of both worlds: half submerged, half basking in the sun. Talk moves from surface to deeper layers as the week progresses.

We watch as our beautiful teenage daughters canoe upstream. Standing up. We remember when we were those girls, coming to WUG in between years of high school, in between childhood and adulthood, in between innocence and harsh reality.

I tell a cousin of my year - my "successes" my "failures," my hopes and dreams for the year to come. "I need a project," I say. "I need something that takes my mind away from the day-to-day minutiae, that betters the world, that makes a difference."

"I affirm that in you," she says.

And just like that, I feel affirmed, and although I know I don't need another to affirm me, I soak it, and the love all around me, up like the hot July day.


Anonymous said...

i need me some wug NOW

Michelle O'Neil said...

I love your cousin. Tell her I love her.

And you. That goes without question.

Anonymous said...

Sounds awesome... I wish I had such a reunion - you are sooo blessed!

Wanda said...

What's WUG?

I have cousin events coming up two weekends in a row later this month. I don't think we will be having the HDR that you and you cousins are having. And probably not beer o'clock either.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

It sounds lovely there. I wish I were one of your cousins!

Amber said...

Aww, sounds awesome. How wonderful.

And what a cool cousin you have. (coolness must run in the family) ;)


Jerri said...

Coolness runs in that river. Which runs in your family. Which you share with us.


Angie Ledbetter said...

How about focusing on that BOOK of yours? Can't imagine how many it will help and inspire. :)

drama mama said...

i'm sorry. can you give me the directions to HEAVEN?!

Diane said...

Encouraging others is a lovely purpose to have.

Deb Shucka said...

I'm right there floating with you feeling the itch of the sun and bites and release of tension. How lovely that affirmation must have felt.