Montana Ooh Na Na

Montana Ooh Na Na

I went to a family reunion in Montana in July, and came home with full intentions of telling you all about my trip. I created a couple drafts of pictures, which sat and sat in desolation, while inspiration did not leap to mind. But here’s what I did instead of writing about my family reunion, in case you wanted to know:

  • Journaled
  • Clipped my nails
  • Ate and slept and went to work and went home
  • Watched movies
  • Coveted these sandals online, then did not buy them
  • Stared at a wall
  • Listened to my favorite Autumn Jazz Pandora station
  • Read a fascinating book about a girl who lived in Germany and Paris and NYC and cooked and wrote about it
  • Ate ice cream out of little boxes in a circle on a friend’s sofa, which felt just like being in a movie, and which was also a flat out cheat on my diet, which I’ve been pretty good about most of the year (no regrets)
  • Made ratatouille
  • Drank more coffee than I should have

Did you know writing about family reunions is very hard? How do you compile into neat little paragraphs all the inside jokes, the way you share unexpected mannerisms with these people you rarely see, the cuteness of their herds of little brown kids, the hilarity of retelling old stories, the delight of rekindling heart connections? You can’t. But here are a few pictures of the lovely time, to give you a glimpse, or at least a glimp…

Montana was the destination of choice this year, and so I flew into a tiny little airport with a whopping two gates, cruising in over the craggy mountains as the sun was thinking about going down. It was lovely, and my whole time in the northwest, I couldn’t get over the sun just hanging out in the sky till all hours of the night. I guess I’ve never been so far north mid-summer before.

Philip picked me up, and after we crashed for a too-short night’s sleep, we met some friends in town for breakfast at a diner which has to be straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. From the cushy red booths, to the locals in hats and boots, to the eggs Benedict, I was completely charmed by it and by the picture book town surrounding it.

And then began the process of catching up with family, touring the local sights, learning all the new kiddie cousins’ names, luxuriating in the fresh Montana air, and whacking at the pigeon-sized mosquitoes. I have about 100 first cousins, did you know? Of course, that’s counting both sides, but even with just some cousins and their spouses and kids from one side of the family present, it still felt like there were dozens and dozens of brown little boys running about, all exactly the same size. We have been fruitful and multiplied, apparently.

We stayed in a lovely campground which doesn’t deserve the name “campground” because it was obviously nothing like camping. It came with decked out cabins, a mountain view, and one silly, tall brother for a picture prop.

Have I mentioned how many kids there were? Most of the cousins my age didn’t make it, so I spent a lot of time making friends with the babies, of which there were plenty to go around.

This picture is one of my favorites of the weekend. Here we have two hopeful sons-in-law virtuously churning ice cream by hand for their prospective parents-in-law who were cooking that weekend. #blessed

Here’s how we amuse ourselves at Troyer reunions:

  • Impromptu cherry pit spitting contests.
  • Entertaining each other with songs. I have a lot of musical relatives. (Look at all my cute aunts and uncles singing together in the picture below)
  • Slip n’ slide kickball games with gallons of dishsoap to make everything extra perilous; first the brown kiddies played, then the adults took a turn, which was definitely a hilarious highlight of the weekend. You try watching your calm and sedate older cousins skidding around soapy plastic strips and splashing into pools as they desperately outrun the ball.
  • Lots of word games, such as fast scrabble. Word to the wise, don’t bother playing with my little brother Philip. His skill is maddening.
  • Mandatory laaaate nights, retelling stories of what naughty kids the cousins were in their youth, with the second generation all ears and wide eyes as they listen to their exploits.
  • Eating low country boil like a massive herd of cows. Very happy cows.

And that’s a wrap. I’ll be posting about the rest of our trip shortly, in which we went north to Canada and explored a few of the most breathtaking spots I’ve seen in my life. Stay tuned…

 

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