I Appreciate Extended Family – Day 29

Clarks at SutliffClarks at Sutliff2I learned this morning that one of my aunts died on July 4th. She was a special soul who had a lot of children (14), grandchildren (34), great grandkids (53) and great-great grandkids (4)! Family was very important to her. Family has always been important to me, too. Being a mother of two beautiful daughters has been the greatest joy in my life.

These photos were taken around 12 years ago, when I went with my mom to get together with my living aunts and uncles on my dad’s side in Sutliff, Iowa. Three of my family here have since transitioned from this planet (my mom and two aunts, including the one who just passed a few days ago).

So today I’m appreciating my extended family. I use the word “extended” but it really is all about family ties that bond us: a connectedness just because we’re family. I have many fond memories of times with my cousins and aunts and uncles. I always wanted a brother or sister growing up but that doesn’t mean that I was lonely! I have 32 first cousins (and I lost count on the number of second and third cousins!) and we got together a lot during my childhood. The laughter there was really contagious! Now-a-days, there are some family reunions on one side of the family but mostly we might see each other at a funeral or wedding. Living in New York, I don’t see my extended family much.

Even if I don’t see my extended family much, I really appreciate them. Facebook has helped to re-connect me with some cousins and keep me informed of family news, such as the passing of my aunt. I appreciate Facebook for reconnecting me with family. I appreciate my extended family even more, now that both of my parents are gone.

I have so many fond memories of my extended family. I remember going for a Sunday drive and just showing up at a family member’s home. People showed up at our home, too. I don’t think that we “planned” those visits – and it almost always worked out that people were home. (Besides we had so many people we could visit, someone was bound to be home!) I love that feeling of openness that it’s ok to just pop in and say “hi.” And popping in meant that there was food and drink to be consumed. In the case of my dad’s side, there was always some games of Euchre, too. (For those who don’t know it, Euchre is a card game.) Those were definitely good times that I appreciate very much.

Today I’m remembering and appreciating my extended family (most of whom live in Iowa). I miss them and remember fondly the good times: reunions, weddings, Thanksgivings, Easters, getting together to play euchre, visits on a Sunday afternoon, and fishing at the cabin. When we do see each other, the conversations are easy, flowing and fun. There’s always a lot of laughter with my extended family. I love them!

For more about the Sutliff bridge and Baxa’s Tavern, visit Sutliff Bridge


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