i took mom to her family reunion this weekend in salmon. well, i guess it’s my family reunion, too.
along the way we rescued a vintage german doll (literally) and were detoured by; 2 garage sales in mackay (great vintage finds!), our friend jude from the rivers bend, and finally kaya and crew at the junction in challis (for huckleberry ice cream).
friday night we put 5 of our elders on the spot. literally lined them up in the front of the room and drilled them with rumors, unsolved mysteries and tragedies. searching for answers. yes, they died young. yes, they were swindled out of all their money in a phony land deal for most of kirtley creek. yes, they left town penniless and started over with their family of children. again and again.
in the morning, we visited what we heard was the old schoolhouse on kirtley creek- a massive roughcut lumber and log creation circa 1928. right before we left, the owner stopped by and said we should check out some old books that were still in the back of the building. leon (age 80+ and 6-foot something) jumped the fence and scoured around until he found it: a schoolbook from 1928 with aunt verona and our friend ruth’s names handwritten inside the back cover. in that delicate cursive of the time. the ladies squealed with joy. a stroke of provenance.
on what might have been the hottest day of the year, we had lunch at high noon in the pavilion in the park. what luck that the sprinklers surrounding us randomly turned on at full force. lots of us got a good soaking before we could get control of them. the cold water provided at first a shock, then laughs and finally some relief from the heat. the under 10 crowd and the young at heart ended up barefoot and soaked. happily.
at dinner we took our chances on raffle tickets for a handmade quilt with pieces originally cut by len and pearl and assembled decades later by jonell and friends. we had raspberry, orange cream soda and root beer floats. we bid on crafts and vintage family photos, and shared more stories.
the night ended with a starry skies, a campfire and a chorus of show tunes at the greyhouse bed and breakfast on highway 28. at midnight, i asked mom if we could go home, finally giving in to the heat and exhaustion of the day.
guess who we ran into at the junkyard bistro for our brunchtime meal? everyone. one more set of hugs, and promises and we were off!
on the road towards challis we stopped at mom’s favorite tree, dipped our toes in the mighty salmon and took the long way home via the ‘shortcut’ to howe. by that time, all i could say is thank heavens for air-conditioning.