From Tulsa, we traveled with my parents and my brother to Booneville, Arkansas. That's where my dad's parents lived for many years and where many of my relatives on my dad's side of the family still live.

The get-together I told you about was a 50th anniversary party for my dad's sister Joyce and her husband Jerald. Joyce's married name is Baker. The big celebration was held at their daughter's house, my cousin Shelly. Her married name is Bolyard. I say all that to explain the sign below. We stayed at the Countryside Inn and as you can see from the photo below and the whole town was invited to the event.

We met up at Joyce and Jerald's house for dinner our first night in Booneville. It was mostly family... and grasshoppers! There were so many grasshoppers!

Avril sits with her great uncle Harold. He's my dad's sister Linda Ann's husband.

My dad and Dwayne stand around and shoot the breeze with two of my uncles, my dad's brothers Harold and Darrell.

Norah played with some of her second cousins well past dark. Is that what my cousin's kids would be to Norah? Second cousins?

The next day, after breakfast and a pool party at my cousin TJ's house,
we drove out of town to see my grandfather's old house and my parent's land.

This old house is much bigger in my memories. There have been a lot of changes since my grandparents were alive and owned the place. I think there used to be more trees around, shading the property. And I am pretty sure the house used to have a second story porch with columns, making it look much more grand.

This is the hole where we used to swim. The older kids would climb up on the bluff and jump off the edges. We let Norah take her pants off and splash around in her panties. We didn't bring a swimsuit with us and we were in the country, so we felt free to improvise. And, you don't take a five year old to a swimming hole without letting her get wet. That would just be cruel.

After the more formal anniversary party that afternoon, the one the town was invited to, the family came back for a reunion later that evening.

I enjoyed my mom and dad's help with Avril.

My older brother Donnie.

Speaking of my brother, I found his initials written on this slab in my granddad's backyard earlier that day. I think the story is that my grandpa was sealing an old well and the kids got into the wet cement. My dad said that my grandfather was furious about it, but now, it's one of the only things that tie our memories to the property.

My dad stands with his brothers and sisters for a picture below. When I was a kid and we lived too far away to visit, they'd send my dad photographs of them all lined up in their birth order with a space in between them where my dad would be. I never understood why they stood that way. It frustrated me to no end that they didn't stand in a complete line. But, when I grew up, I realized they stood that way on purpose. They were always "leaving a space" where my dad was supposed to be, letting him know they had missed him. So, now, it's always touching to see them all together.

From left to right they are Ronnie, Donnie- my dad, Harold and Darrell. My dad has his arm around his sister Joyce, who was the one celebrating her anniversary, and his other sister Linda is on the right.

My dad's brothers and sisters and all their spouses together. Not sure why my mom is staring out into the pasture...

All the children... that were there. I'm right in the middle behind Vonda.
Some of the kids, including my older sister, weren't able to come.

My parents and Avril again.

My cousin Amee and her husband Marc.

The dance floor.

In the photo below, I am doing the electric slide with my mom and Norah and some of my cousins. I also got to slow dance with my dad. That was pretty sweet.

A very tired baby girl with a very full diaper.

We wanted to just fall into bed when we got back to the hotel.
We had a great time. My family really knows how to party!


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