June 16 • 12:59 PM

Summertime Christmas with family

July 02, 2008
A number of years ago, when our children were just wee 'uns, Red's sister Eris Bleau began a tradition that has withstood many years of use. She invited her two brothers Neal and Red (Irvin to her, her parents and my parents, who didn't like nicknames) and their families to her home for a Christmas get together. Let's see, there must have been all of 15 then. I don't think Eris's youngest, John (still Johnnie Joseph to me) had yet entered the family.

Eris, Neal and Red used to take turns hosting the get together. Now the tradition has been passed down to our kids. Saturday, June 28 was our annual get together and I think there were 40 of us. Neal and Red are no longer with us, but there was much reminiscing and we laughed and laughed.

After the families got larger and it was difficult to find a date near Christmas to have our Annual Brooks Bash, Alan and Pauline decided to try something new and they hosted "Christmas in July'' down at our pond. It was a success.

Neal's daughter Rhonda and husband Jim Klann were hosts Saturday at the family cottage on McCollum Lake between Fairview and Curran. Lee and Lynda picked up Lynda's mother Marge Carroll, Daisy and me at Independence Village. I had been concerned over the weather report of thunderstorms but we lucked out. It was nice enough for us to eat outside, when it was time for Santa Claus, we were inside, Christmas tree and all. A thunderstorm was strange accompaniment for opening Christmas gifts. Parents brought gifts for the little ones to open, Rhonda put slips of paper numbering the adults in a bowl and each drew out a number. Number 1 chose a gift from under the tree. Number 2 could choose a gift from under the tree or steal someone else's. The one stolen from could do the same. I was number 32, next to the last number drawn and didn't have to worry too much about being stolen from. I was a naughty Grandma and stole a lovely picnic kit, complete with two bottles of wine, a cheese board and knife and bottle opener from Granddaughter Wendy (I do feel guilty). So handy to carry to the pond for a picnic supper when Daisy and I move back to Almont. Yes, 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' and I plan to return.

Lee, Lynda, Marge, Daisy and I stayed in a motel in Atlanta, ate breakfast at a nice restaurant, then Lee took us to the Almont Archery Club's elite (?) hunting camp. I'll have to admit the new 'lodge' is quite an improvement over the old. I might even stay there if invited. After all, I have stayed in a tent on Elk Hill, complete with an outhouse, while camping with our horses.

On the way back, we again stopped at Peaceful Pines to pick up Lynda's snapshot albums she has made of our Brooks' Christmas get togethers. I call it that, I don't know whether anyone else does or not. There is something magical about the quiet hide-away and its whispering pines and it seems I could stay there forever. I have often wondered how long I would have to stay before I felt I wanted to get out of there. Red and I used to go up there every August and I was never ready to go back home.

Thanks Jim and Rhonda for the wonderful weekend! Aunt Gertie

— Country Cousin

P.S. The West Berlin United Methodist Church on the corner of Almont and Holmes Roads, Allenton, is having their famous 'Strawberries and Ice Cream Social'' on Thursday, July 10, from 6-8 p.m. As always, pies, cakes, cookies and ice cream cones. Thanks a million!

Castle Creek
06 - 16 - 19
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