Monday, June 30th - Monday, August 11th
Monday evening we arrived at my little brother and sister-in-law's lake place (Claude and Jodi's) for an extended visit. We had been planning a surprise family reunion to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday for almost a year and she didn't have a clue. On Wednesday night (July 23rd) Dawn arrived to spend a long weekend with us at the lake. We had said we were going to have a Jamaica Party that weekend. Then our kids and grandkids arrived on Thursday evening from Montana. Mom was very surprised and just getting acquainted with the newest addition to their family.
Meanwhile, we had just had a very big wind storm that afternoon and Morgan's tent with queen size air mattress in it had gone airborne, and flown all the way across the small lake behind us and gotten hung up in the reeds.
When the wind went down in the evening, Claude launched his little duck boat in the ditch across the road and went to retrieve it.
It took a while with his little 9 HP motor to tow back the water logged tent, but his trusty dog, Gunner, couldn't wait to swim out to meet him when he got near.
Once he got it close to shore, it took a group effort to drag it out of the water and back across the road to the yard.
Kind of heavy!
A little soggy and one broken pole, but otherwise in pretty good shape. It should be dried out in time for Wee Fest next week, Morgan!
When all that excitement was over, my brother from Ohio arrived.
He just came walking into our RV where we were all visiting wearing a Jamaican hat and dreadlocks, and Mom was just laughing, wondering what kind of nonsense we were up to now.
She looked at him three times before she said, "Oh my God, it's Gary!"
She was totally shocked that they had come all the way from Ohio.
And Tierney was scared of that weird old man with the funny hat and hair! I can't imagine why?
Me having a little fun in the lake with my granddaughters.
Grandpa John and their Dad watching them play in the water.
Their latest addition is a little foster boy they got when he was two months old. He's an easy baby, cute and lovable and we all adore him.
Great-grandma Clem playing in the water with Claude's grandson, Braylon.
Saturday arrived and it was time for the big surprise party. The grandkids put up pictures of Grandma Clem at the beach, fishing, kissing a dolphin and zip-lining in Jamaica last January at Brooke's wedding.
Someone came in the camper and said, "Grandma, could you come out here a minute?"
She came out the door and was just flabbergasted to see her brother, Adam, and his wife from Billings. We were all flabbergasted, as none of us knew they were coming.
My three brothers with Adam and Joann. Dewey, Gary and Claude. What handsome Jamaican dudes!
Then a few of her lady friends from Milnor arrived. And then her favorite fishing buddies from Lisbon. It was just one surprise after another for her. Later in the afternoon, Mom's niece, Karen, and her husband, George, showed up from Billings. Another total surprise for all of us! It was so wonderful all the people that showed up. Mom was so happy to see everyone!
Claude said, "I hope she doesn't have a coronary!"
Lacey brought out the birthday cakes, the big one with the Jamaican beach scene for Grandma and a smaller one for Gary's wife, Maelinda, whose birthday it actually happened to be that day.
Thank goodness we didn't put 80 candles on it for her to blow out!
Lacey entertaining the old folks. What a good hostess!
My girls and son-in-law.
Robbie (Claude's son-in-law) having cake with the kiddies.
More of the clan on the patio down by the beach.
Braylon taking the girls for a ride in his car and Connie and Gary Martin's grandson.
Hold on tight.
Oh no, the girls are gonna' drive!
Yeah, they'll probably need a push.
Family fun at the lake. It just doesn't get any better than that! Thank you so much Claude and Jodi for hosting all the festivities and for letting us stay for so long and making us feel so welcome! We really appreciate it. When our kids got back to Montana, Carter had gotten an old car from someone that was named "Tina". So Tierney decided to name the family Tahoe, "Elsie". I think that says something about how much fun she had at Lake Elsie!
It was really fun for Gary, who probably hasn't seen the people from Billings for over 30 years.
Adam and Joann came back for Sunday brunch, so we had a nice visit with them before they left for home. What a great weekend!
The next week we went back to Sioux Falls to have some work done on the RV. While we were there, we made a quick trip down to Iowa to visit friends and relatives. Thanks to Bruce and Gerry for all your hospitality again. We saw friends, Bob and Elva, in Greenfield and John's cousins, Ralph and Patti, and cousins, Virgil and Louise, in Des Moines. On Saturday we drove out to Lake Panorama (northwest of Des Moines) to visit friends, Earl and Cindy, at their summer camp spot.
On our way back to Sioux Falls on Sunday, we stopped in Ruthven, Iowa to visit John's Aunt at the assisted living place, and his cousins, Denny and Kathy. I took this picture kitty corner from the assisted living place there. I wasn't quite sure what to think about this, if they were trying to make a statement or what?
We went to Hu Hot for supper with Dawn. Then we headed back to Claude and Jodi's lake place on Monday. We left the following Sunday, August 10th, to head for Montana again. We stopped in Valley City to pick up a used car for my Uncle Tony. I drove it to his place in Lewistown, Montana for him. We spent the night visiting them and left for Helena on Tuesday. He just had open-heart surgery about a month ago and is looking and feeling pretty good. We will be in Helena about two months, then heading for Seattle, Portland and California.
Family videos below. My first attempt at videos. Didn't turn out very well. Audio didn't come through, but I thought some of the family might like to see them anyway. I have a couple of better ones, but they must be too long, because the blog wouldn't take them.