114 things about the reunion

We all enjoyed a superb reunion with Scott’s side of the family in Waxhaw, NC July 18-24.  Present were:

Mama Kay (a.k.a. “Mom” or “Grandma”)

Kevin, Elsa (for the 1st two days only; Leah and John couldn’t travel)

Stuart and Susie, Lily, Maggie, Jon (Hannah had to work in CA to pay for college)

Scott and Patty, Katie, Jessica, Josiah, Andrew

Milt and Becky, Ian (for 1st 5 days only), Rachelle, Amanda, Isabel


Uncle Cliff and Aunt Nell (for the last day only)

Special memories and factoids include:

1.  It took 17 hours to drive to Waxhaw.

2.  We went in the van plus the Camry Scott bought for his mom.

3.  He paid $450 to have the A/C in that car fixed before we left.

4.  The A/C worked fine in the cool of the morning, but in the heat of the day, it only worked for 30 minutes at a time.  Then it would have to be turned off for three minutes.  Scott was steamed.  Literally.  Something like the defrost timer needs to be replaced.

5.  He very graciously drove the sweat-mobile and let me drive the van.

6.  We picked up Kevin and Elsa at the airport in Charlotte at 10:45 PM (on our way to Waxhaw).

7.  Kevin looks exactly like his dad!

8.  After leaving the house at 4:45 AM, we finally staggered into our JAARS apartment at midnight.

9.  Stu, Susie, Jon, Scott, Andrew, and I stayed in a very nice 3BR apartment at JAARS – compliments of Stuart’s and my allergies to Becky’s cat.

10.  For the most part, Jessica and Maggie stayed at Grandma’s apartment (with her two kittens) and they (the girls, not the kittens) helped a LOT with the cooking, over many days and meals.

11.  Everyone else stayed at Becky’s house.   That would be six Joneses, Kristy, Katie, Josiah, Kevin, and Elsa, for a total of nine to eleven folks, (I think).

11.  We had a photo shoot at the pond near our apartment the first morning at the unbelievable hour of 9:00 AM.

12.  The highlight of the whole trip was seeing Mom walk up to the man sitting at the picnic table and scream, “KEVIN!!!”  (She didn’t think he was coming.  Scott got him there.)

13.  The humidity in Waxhaw, NC in July is approximately 214%.  It’s so humid that in walking 30 feet to your car, your scalp sweats.

14.  A gang of us went swimming at the JAARS pool on Saturday mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  It’s a small pool, but everyone had a lot of fun.

15.  Those of us who did not swim played games.  It was pretty hot, but we were very thankful to be in the shade.

16.  Some lunch supplies were brought to the pool.  We made sandwiches and ate whatever.

17.  Several of the ladies played Bridge over lunch.

18.  I took pictures.

19.  Of people swimming and/or turning flips into the pool.

20.  And eating.

21.  And playing Bridge.

22.  That first night, Susie served Sunshine Chicken Salad at our apartment.  It was yummy and tastes best without any dressing.

23. Sunday morning, many of us went to church at Calvary Church in Charlotte.  It’s huge and beautiful, and Billy Graham used to go there.

24.  Elsa didn’t want to go to church, so Scott stayed “home” and talked with Kevin.

25.  The Joneses plus Krit and Mom stayed after for Sunday school, but the rest of us came home so I could madly chop fruit for my fruit salad, for lunch.

26.  It accompanied White Chili for 21, also served at our apartment.

27.  Along with two 9×13 carrot cakes!

28.  Sunday afternoon, we all said our emotional goodbyes to Kevin and Elsa.  Milt drove them to the airport for their flight back to Dallas.  They would get in around 7:30 PM and then drive a rental car back to Austin.

29.  Due to a forecast storm in Dallas, their flight was canceled.

30.  There were no more flights on any other carriers going to Dallas that evening.

31.  Milt brought Kevin and Elsa back to his house (a 45 minute drive)

32.  It never stormed in Dallas.

33.  Monday morning, Becky took them back to the airport again.

34.  Monday – Wednesday, a subset of us journeyed to Litchfield Beach, SC.

35.  There’s no good way to get to Litchfield Beach from Waxhaw.

36.  Six Robertses, plus Mom, Maggie, Milt, Ian, Rachelle, and Amanda made that five-hour jaunt in two very fully packed vans.

37.  Meanwhile, Bec stayed home to drive Isabel to her classes each morning; Krit stayed home because the beach is a pain for her; and  Stuart, Susie, Lily, and Jon made a day trip to Sliding Rock and to see some relatives of Susie’s.

38.  Tuesday and Wednesday, the Florida Robertses went up into Virginia to visit some college friends of theirs.

39.  The last part of their drive home was in a heavy and protracted thunderstorm, the likes of which they don’t usually experience in south Florida.

40.  We had to take all our own sheets and towels to the beach house – or pay an extra $120 linen rental fee, which Scott was not about to do.

41.  The use of walkie-talkies while traveling in vans is maddening to some drivers.

42.  I am some drivers.

43.  At Piggly-Wiggly in Litchfield Beach, you can find fresh green beans, Moose Tracks ice cream, and contact lens solution, but no dish cloths.

44.  After a meal for 12, it’s hard to clean up with no dish cloths.

45.  Scott’s mom LOVES to cook, and she brought along enough food and ingredients to cook for an army.

46.  Teenage boys at the beach eat like an army at meal times and like scavengers at all other times.

47.  There were wooden posts along the driveway of our beach house.  These posts can grab vehicles.

48.  I did don a swimsuit and trudge out into the surf.

49.  I liked everything about being in the ocean except the waves and the salt.

50.  Ocean water is very salty.

51.  Ocean water shoved up your nose when a wave knocks you down and holds you under water so long that you can’t figure out which way is up is even saltier.

52.  My favorite activity at the beach was walking along the beach and looking for neat shells.

53.  The kids (all eight of them) spent hours the first night tearing throughout the beach house and surrounding area, playing hide-and-seek, and talking on the four walkie-talkies.

54.  While we adults were playing bridge in the evening, Uncle Milt used one walkie-talkie to break in on the kids’ conversations, and he was way too funny!

55.  A family at the beach was using the same frequency.  They kept asking Michael where Cass was.

56.  Milt told them Cass had been abducted!

57.  But they figured out that it was a joke and changed to another frequency.

58.  Ian and Josiah had a grand time together, as did Jessica and Maggie.

59.  Jellyfish scored multiple stings on nine of our crew the second evening.

60.  If I NEVER see another game of Risk or Monopoly, it will be too soon.

61.  Risk and Monopoly take forever to play.

62.  I do not play Risk or Monopoly.

63.  All the Jones and Florida Roberts families play Risk and Monopoly with a vengeance.

64.  Thursday morning, several of us (Scott, Mom, Susie, Katie) took a tour of JAARS.  It was interesting and I’m glad I went.  We did quite a bit of walking, and it was humid outside.  As well as hot.

65.  Stuart watched Jon and Andrew while we toured.  Thank you, Stuart!

66.  We got to see to office where Mom volunteers as a receptionist, computer person, and mail stuffer on Thursday and Friday afternoons.  We did not get to see Uncle Milt’s office, where he works on Old Testament helps for those who are translating the Bible.  Mom hasn’t seen his office yet and REALLY wants to.

67.  Thursday lunch was compliments of Grandma at the JAARS cafeteria, where she volunteers on Mondays as a baker.  It was very good.

68.  After lunch we were scheduled to go to a local park for the afternoon.  Mom would do a cookout supper there for all of us.  Her choice.  Remember that she loves to cook, and the more elaborate a meal, the better.  Hauling to a park everything necessary to cook and serve and full meal for 18 would be no big deal for Mom.

69.  But it was hot and humid, some of the folks were tired of being constantly on the go, and on an earlier scouting trip Scott and Katie had determined that absolutely everything at the park would cost money:  parking per vehicle, picnic table rental, lawn game rental, swimming per person, paddle boats rental, canoe rental, etc.  I asked Katie if there were bathrooms at the park (yes) and if you had to pay to use them.  She said she thought you could enter them for free, but we joked that you might have to pay to flush.

70.  We convinced Mom to punt the park, and instead we all spent that afternoon relaxing at the Jones home.  I did not play Risk or Monopoly, although many others did.

71.   Sometime mid-week, Mom managed to scape her car along the side of Krit’s car.

72.  Now Mom’s red car has gray paint stripes , and Krit’s gray car has red paint stripes.

73.  Becky took Ian to the airport for his flight to California.

74.  She lost her Palm Pilot somewhere at the airport.

75.  Bec is very calm and rarely gets stressed, but losing her Palm Pilot was fairly unsettling to her.

76.  That evening, Mom made her awesome baked beans, and Scott grilled the meat.

77.  Some of us played Casino on the porch.   No gambling was involved.

78.  Stuart and I ended up  spending a LOT of time that week on the huge Jones front porch.  Avoiding the cat.  Did I mention that it was humid out there?

79.  One afternoon, Susie and I found ourselves alone at the apartment and we had a great, long conversation.  Very fun!

80.  Friday morning there was a scheduled trip for all to the Monroe Aquatics Center.  It features a lap pool, a water park, a walking track, and raquetball courts.

81.  I am not majorly athletic.

82.  But I packed a swimsuit and walking/sweating clothes and joined the gang at Bec’s house at the scheduled departure time of 9:15 AM for our 30-minute drive to Monroe.

83.  But Bec was still in her PJs.

84.  Then there was a lot of confusion over who would go.  In which vehicle(s).  Utilizing which car seats.

85.  But Scott and Mom needed to go ahead to Monroe to get her new car licensed, so they departed in Mom’s car, leaving the rest of us to figure out #84.

86.  It turns out that Bec’s (dental) crown had broken off the night before, and she had spent the entire morning trying unsuccessfully to find a dentist who could re-cement it.  That day or any other day in the near future.

87.  Bec was flustered.

88.  Then, when Bec called to confirm that she could bring some 13 guests to the Monroe Aquatics Center on her family pass, they said she could bring four.

89.  This was a problem – especially since Scott, his mom, and Andrew were already in Monroe!

90.  Standing in line at the license bureau.

91.  Four minutes away from the Aquatics Center.

92.  So Becky eventually talked them into letting eight people come.

93.  Mom ended up coming back home alone, and I volunteered not to go at all.  WHEW!

94.  Instead, I spent the afternoon with Katie, Jon, Amanda, Stuart, Susie, and Mom.

95.  Playing Take Two and watching Jon (6) and Amanda (9) wheel and deal like real estate agents in yet another game of Monopoly.

96.  Eventually, the rest of the gang got home.

97.  But Scott hadn’t been able to get the car licensed, because there had been a lien on it, and they had to have the ORIGINAL lien sign-off form; no fax allowed.

98.  We (Stuart, Susie, Jon, Amanda, Mom, and I) walked over to the JAARS pool, which was maybe 1/4 mile away.  We took a shortcut through the woods in order to have more shade, but did I mention that it’s very hot and humid in Waxhaw in July?

99.  While walking, who should we see driving into the Penn Lodge, but Aunt Nell and Uncle Cliff!  What a happy reunion!

100.  They accompanied us to the pool and took a dip.

101.  That night we all went back to Bec’s and ate miscellaneous leftovers and stuff.

102.  We had two tables of Bridge going on the porch.

103.  Including KRISTY, who played with Katie against Becky and me and WON!

104.  There were a lot of June bugs buzzing around and landing on the porch tables in the evenings.  I guess June bugs like humidity.  There was a fair amount of that in Waxhaw in July.

105.  Using a deft finger flick, Uncle Stu perfected the technique of “Spin the Beetle.”

106.  He even caught a half dozen or so in a cup!  Quite gross.

107.  That night, Aunt Nell told us she and Mom would clean our apartment for us!  (We were required to leave it totally “hotel-room ready” for the next guests, and I had no idea how we and the Florida crew would do that and still get on the road early.)  What a blessing!

108.  That night we packed up, and the next morning, we were up very early to load and meet back at the Joneses to pick up our other three kids.

109.  Scott mounted the cuppers courts up top between the luggage racks (where the wind sawing through the tie-down straps droned a steady E-flat for the next 872 miles) and wedged all the luggage into the “trunk,” up the back window to the roof, all over the floor, and in between all the seats.  We then shoe-horned in the kids.

110.  Be it noted that the kids were VERY cramped on the way home, but they didn’t complain.  They volunteered to drive, but we didn’t let them, simply because we dreaded trying to cram ourselves into the spaces they were so longsufferingly occupying!

111.  It took 16 hours to drive home, and we arrived at 11:00 PM.

112.  A&W in Poplar Bluff has amazingly poor service.

113.  We enjoyed a full, fun nine days with family, and, despite the stress of planning and pulling it all off with only three weeks’ lead time, the trip was very worth doing.

114.  Mom loved it, and we should probably do it more often than every ten years.

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