Sunday, August 30, 2009

Craven's Unite!

I got back early last Monday morning from our Craven Family Reunion. It was tiring and I am glad to be home. I rode up to Stanly, ID with my dad Friday afternoon. We got to Camp Smokey about 5 pm or so.

My dad's cousin Susan spends so much time and energy on the reunion, especially on the genealogy. She sets up this display every year and it seems as though we've stepped into a Craven museum.

Family of the past...

and family of the present.

Family reunions old-school style.

Susan has also made an awesome family tree.

On second thought, I should have had someone stand by it for scale. Top to bottom, it is at least 5 feet tall. It was no small feat to make for sure.

Here's my dad's line. It's a bit out of date, but not too bad. We were cuter back then anyway, right? My birthday is a couple of days off, but who's counting?

It was fun to be able to see resemblances throughout the generations. I saw similarities between myself and my great aunt, Norma Jeanne. I didn't say anything because I couldn't pinpoint what it was that made me think that. My dad and cousin Susan said something also though, so I'm convinced it wasn't just in my head.

Note her second last name. Don't worry, she acquired it after my line split off. Dillon's and my kids won't have webbed feet... hopefully.

My dad and his great uncle, James Craven, look so much alike to me.

My brother, Paul, has sinus issues. When he blows his nose, it sounds like a heard of angry elephants protecting their young by making threatening, whaling noises with their trunks. My dad heard it one time when we were all together and told us about Grandma Kranendonk. She was my Grandpa Craven's mom. Well, I guess she must have had sinus issues as well, because as the story goes, whenever she would blow her nose, my grandmother would roll her eyes and say, "There goes 'honk-honk-Kranendonk' again." It was a nice pet name my grandma had for her mother-in-law. As you may have guessed, this is Paul's new nickname from me. That's some schnoz our dear Grandma Kranendonk had. It looks vaguely familiar...

I also got to learn more about my ax-murdering uncle I like to talk about. They had a little impromptu "sewing circle" of family buffs that got together and shared what they knew. It was fascinating to listen to them.

One of them actually had copies of letters from my great, great, Uncle Isaac written to family members from prison. She shared copies with everyone and I enjoyed reading them. He was a terrible speller and lacked most basic grammar skills. One of the letters to my great Aunt Agnes (his niece) written back in '62 stuck out to me. She must have inquired as to the whereabouts of his siblings in the letter she wrote him prior to this one. It begins:

"Dear Niece Anges. I received your very surpriseing and welcomed letter a few days ago and sure am pleased to hear from you and I wish to thank you for sending me the picture of my suposed to have died way back in 1915 brother Jerry."

I thought that was funny. Jerry was my great grandfather. What ever happened to Jerry to make him think he was dead for all those years?

Later in his letter, he talks about his siblings:

"...Now young lady hold onto your hat for here comes a record of Jerrys kin folks there was seven boys and five girls in the faimly first was George we called Peter. then Nancy. then Luies we called Jack then John. Martha. Jim. Joe. Susie. whop I have left out Lottie. borned between John and Martha. then Jerry. Isaac and last Goldia and as to their where boust Peter was killed whiles braking a loging train in Ark a few months befor Father dies at parten Burg S.C in the spring of 1904 Nancy died at River Grove III Jely 29.1960 Jack died in Chiboygan Michigan with the Flu tord fall 1917. John was killed by his son at Spokane Wash the last time I ever heard about Lettie she was in Kallamzoo Michigan. Jim died at Yakima Wash 1937 the last I heard abot Joe he was working on the docks at Seattle Washington under another name Susie was killed by a train whiles on her way home from my place the 29 of Oct 1923 and how with Jerry alive that leaves two boys and two girls alive and the where bout of the other two is unknown Martha it or was in Los Angeles Goldia lives in Yakima Jerry lives in Nevada and a short ways from Marquette Michigan is my stamping grounds..."

He closes the letter " of wishes to all as ever that old mossback uncle of yours. Mr Isaac Craven" That 'Old Mossback' was a self given nickname I was told. I'm not sure what it meant. He did seem to be quite the character.

The story I was told is that Isaac was sick of his neighbor's horse reaching over his fence to eat the grass on his side of the fence, they got in an argument about it, and Isaac chopped him (the neighbor) up with his ax. My dad says there has to be more to the story, but I say there doesn't. He didn't seem to mind prison though. He wrote to another niece in 1948, "By the way Jessie you asked why I dident ask for a new trial what do you think I am? leave such meals as we had for dinner such as pork-stake. mashed pots gravy caned corn. raisen pie coffee and bread for some elce not by a long shot." I find the whole thing fascinating for some, morbid I'm sure, reason.

Regardless of past occurrences, the sense of family at the reunion was strong. This is Isaac's sister, Goldie's daughter, Emily, holding a picture of her late husband. She's 80 years old. Her daughter, granddaughter, and great-grandchildren were at the reunion too. She's a great gal.

The accommodations up at Camp Smokey were great. It had maybe a dozen or so little cabins that slept 2 - 10 people. They were all equipped with electricity (lights and plug-ins), a wood burning stove, bunk-beds with mattresses, and a little dining table with chairs. They were so cozy and nice. We also had flushing toilets and showers! That's my style of camping.

My dad and I were in cabin 2.

I took it upon myself to test the structural integrity of our cabin. It passed with flying colors!

You would think my dad were raised in a barn. He kept leaving the front door open. This was taken after what felt like an eternity of swatting and killing moths from the light. They just kept coming.

The grounds keeper and his wife had spent the entire summer up there and were leaving for home that Monday. They were very nice people.

They had a really nice dog too. He said she was a "miniature" blue healer. I didn't know there was such a thing. She seemed petite, but I don't know about miniature.

Susan arranged to have live music for us. They were really good and very nice. I couldn't help but think I knew the girl from somewhere. I never figured it out though. Maybe I'm just a racist and all Utahans look alike to me. ;-P

They let my dad and I sing with them. We thought we would nail a Johnny Cash song - Folsom Prison Blues - as we had listened to it so many times on the drive up, but we failed miserably and forgot most of the lyrics. We still had a good time out of it.

We had so much food. We could have stayed for weeks. Emergency preparedness, right?

It was good eatin' for all!

Saturday before lunch we all sat around waiting as a select few tried to save the "sloppy-joe soup."

They finally did. My dad helped out a lot in the kitchen.

Camp Smokey is located right by Alturas Lake. After lunch on Saturday, we decided it would be fun to go swimming and hang out by the lake.

On the way, Rod took some wonderful pictures of a dear. He should be a photographer for National Geographic or something. I love how the leaf is hanging out of its mouth in the second picture - too cute.

The lake was so cold - not that I don't make this face often.

Sherry and Rod were smart not to get in.

A few of us sucked it up though and tried to have some fun.

Sherrie found the boat of her dreams - a match made in heaven it seemed.

Janet had a wardrobe malfunction.

Rod thought it would be funny to get the local sheriff deputies to play a trick on her and act like they saw it were going to write her up for it.

She didn't buy it for a second though. The first thing out of her mouth was, "Oh yeah, if you let me go I'll tell you what those guys (pointing to my dad and Rod) were doing in the bushes just before you got over here."

Susan, on the other hand, wasn't catching on and was very worried. As it progressed she became a bit angry until we told her what was going on.

Tony had a "wardrobe malfunction" too, but some would argue he showed his better side. :-P Tony's a fun guy. My cousin, Janet, should just marry him already! ;-)

We found some nice boys to take our picture on the dock.

They did a good job. We invited them over to our camp to have some dinner later on, but they never showed.

Some nice people who were just docking their boat let my dad pose in it for pictures with their boat and dog. Sometimes I really don't know about those Craven's.

I called my second cousin, David, 'The Chipmunk Whisperer.' The only times I saw the things, David was not far behind. They loved following him around. He said one jumped into his hand to get some food. Now he just needs his own TV show.

Paul, Emily and Porter came Saturday night. I was sad we missed their arrival and the dusky group picture. I was stuck in town waiting for Doug to get done talking to his girlfriend on my cell phone. Don't get me started... Don't even get me started.

Even though it was late, it was nice to see them.

It was especially nice to see Porter. He's so precious, and we got some special bonding in as Paul and Emily let him ride back to Boise with me on Sunday. I didn't want to give him back!

Later that night Paul and I decided it would be fun to go geocashing. He downloaded an app for his phone that was supposed to be really good for that. He marked the target and away we went.

Little did I know that Paul was going ahead full bore all while the program wasn't working. My first clue that it wasn't working was when we finally had gone in a complete, huge circle. I was furious when I found out we had no direction the entire time. I yelled at him for a while, tried to figure it out myself, and then we went to bed.

Paul gets really frustrated when his gizmos don't work right. Looking back, the app probably relied on cell phone coverage to fully work, which we didn't have up there (hence the hour and a half I spent in town waiting for my dad to stop talking to his girlfriend - don't get me started...) so I think that's why it didn't work. Yeah, not so much fun that way.

The next morning we took some family pictures in our matching shirts.

I made t-shirts for us for the reunion. The front said "Craven Family Reunion 2009" with Doug's face and the back said "Where the greatest entertainment comes totally by accident." They turned out pretty cute.

I swear my mom has a picture just like this of Paul when he was about that size.

Mercedes, my second cousin, and Porter hit it off.

It was so beautiful up there and nobody died. What more could you ask of a Craven Family Reunion?


Jes said...

I love chipmunks! Oh that I could whisper to them. He's very lucky.

And you're looking quite hot!

Cerra said...

I know, Jes. I really hope he knows how lucky he is... I really do.

And thanks. You are too kind! ;-)