There were 47 people this year, offshoots from the three branches of the Viola/Adolph family tree, plus 11 dogs. We occupied two cabins, a small tent city, and 4 motel rooms in town. Two families in particular--our "Bohangels"--do all the prep work getting everything ready. Before we even descend on the place, clans and families volunteer to provide meals, so we had taco night, steak night, Asian night, pulled pork night, coconut French toast brunch, gyro lunch, and more--an endless supply of excellent food and delicious drink. We had actual goll-dern lattes every morning, thanks to cousin J’s grinder and espresso machine.
Everyone helps out with dishes, camp pickup, fire starting/snuffing, wet clothes line-hanging, etc. And miraculously and spontaneously, the entire village watches over and helps keep in line the growing herd of small children, who turn feral within minutes of arriving. The frequently-yelled “theme call” this year was, “Has anyone seen my cousin?” We also decided that GF stood, interchangeably, for both girl friend and gluten free.
Among the milestones we celebrated this year are two new babies, the unwelcome passage of a potential cousin (a very early miscarriage), the 80th birthday year and end of radiation therapy for Mom, our Grand Matriarch, the continuing struggle but current good health of a young cousin with kidney disease, and a beautiful Veatles (Viking + Beatles) lakeside goodbye to cousin Britta, an amazing young woman whose energy became part of the Force this year.
We had the 5th annual Esther Williams Invitational Lake Swim, the 4th annual This Cabin Won’t Pay for Itself Auction, the 1st annual Serious-as-Sheit Beanbag Toss Tourney, Golf Day (I hear the old dawgs whipped the pups), the Old Farts Slow Cruise, the Party Boat Speed Cruise, jet skiing, paddle boating, paddle boarding (I was on my feet for at least 2-3 minutes!), floaties, fishing, sunburns, and singing. The under-12 crowd got in on the Grandpa Spot Annual Quarter Toss, where cousin Spot tosses $100 or more in quarters across the lawn, and kids armed with plastic cups and pointy elbows scrabble for the loot.
It was a glorious several days of laughing, toasting marshmallows (we all bow before Luke’s marshmallow mastery), singing, shouting, swearing, crying (mostly kids), in a watery wonderland of family love & togetherness. We come from all over this country and others, all occupations, all political, social, religious, and nonreligious leanings, various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, from 6 weeks to 80 years of age. The BFBFR was totally worth every minute of the 9-hour car ride in a compact car with two bored toddlers.
I’ve been going to the cabin in Minnesota since I was 4 or 5 (with a decade or two off in there somewhere; I still remember sneaking down to the water late at night when I was 8 or 9, to set free the frogs Grandpa Adolph hung on stringers off the dock--his catfish bait, my “friends”). That’s 50+ years of family on Long Lake, people, and it was already a tradition before I came along. There aren’t many rambling, extended families as big and diverse as ours that can or will congregate like this, and I’m grateful as heck for the little (Great Big?) miracle that is the Big Fat Bohunk Family Reunion.
|Celebrating Britta with "fireflies" (sparklers)|
|Veatles sendoff: ashes, paper butterflies, poems.|
|Cousin Britta Joy: Happy journey!|
|Cousin Clyde learns to fish.|
|New Baby: Cousin Dylan|
|Esther Williams Invitational 2015 Participants|
|Cousin Hazel biffs it on the motel sidewalk.|
|Hazel likes to dress for the Quarter Toss.|
|Quarter Toss wee cousin scrounging.|
|This cousin paddle boards with a dog and a beer. Next year...|
|French toast feeding frenzy.|
|Auctioneer cousin talks up groovy silly hat.|
|Speedy young'un cousins party boat.|
|Over 50 cousins chillin' boat.|
|Mmm…steak & potato night.|
|The youngest cousin, Stella, & oldest cousin, Mom.|