Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Colorado Trip, part 3: Family Reunion

Finally, we got the the main purpose of our trip out west: the Copeland Family Reunion.

This reunion included the descendants of my great-grandparents, Bernard and Margaret Copeland. Bernard and Margaret raised six children on a bustling farm in Idana, Kansas.  From Bernard and Margaret has grown a mighty crowd!  I don't remember how many there are at the moment - children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren - but as you'll see from the photo at the bottom, there are a lot, and that wasn't even all of them!  

(Dad?  What's the number?  Dad is our family historian!)

We had a number of family photos and artifacts on display, including Grandma Margaret's wedding dress, which she stitched herself.  Beautiful, amazing work!

We had a number of activities available each day, including hiking.  (This was Colorado, after all.)  Someone found a family-friendly hike - small beans compared to what John and Will did later in the summer!  

The picture above is a favorite of mine - Will helping Evie to navigate the path when she was tired of riding on his back.

One evening, Dad gave a presentation about our family's history - what an amazing feeling to know so much about where we're from, to have roots in such a rootless world!

I don't mean to say, of course, that we find our worth or any ultimate value out of knowing who our great-great grandfather was and where he lived!  But it is good to know where we came from, and makes us appreciate God's working throughout many generations to bring us to our current place in the world. 

A couple of nights, we had talent shows - we're a talented bunch! - and here, Katie and Sean were singing some American folk songs such as Grandpa Bernard and Grandma Margaret may have known.  Always lovely to get to hear them sing!

This is one of Dad's first cousins, Kathy, thanking another first cousin, Beth, for all she did to bring about this family reunion.  Beth did a TON of work and really made it happen.  Thanks, Beth!

Here's the whole gang.  We are divided by family groups, each color representing one of the original siblings.  Our branch - Wilbur's descendants - are in red.  

It was a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime moment and we are so thankful we could be there! 

From there, we headed back to Pennsylvania and a week at family camp.  That trip back east was longer than usual because the a/c went out on the van we were borrowing.  Kansas in July can be...a tad warm.  Scorching, in fact.  John kept checking his phone - 98* one place, 101* the next, cooling off to 99* in the next place.  Thankfully, the kids were too wilted (and dehydrated?) to complain!

But we made it.  And the family that swelters together, stays together.  

That's a saying, right?

Well, whatever.  We made it and now we have war-stories to tell and that certainly counts for something.

We are thankful for safety all the way there and back, for family near and far, and for a Godly heritage.  God is good.

Colorado, part 2

I'm not even going to bother apologizing for not writing since September!  What else do you expect from me by now?!

I'm just going to pick up where I left off...in Colorado.

The day after we went to Hanging Rock, we went to the Royal Gorge.

Many of us walked across the bridge, facing a deep-seated and life-long fear of heights.  This wasn't made any better by the fact that if you looked down, you could see between boards, down the dizzying distance to the river below!

Will decided to face his fear and just go.  Sam dealt with his fear the way he deals with most of life, by talking all the way.  My dad - who has long wanted to walk across this bridge - took his time and enjoyed it all, placing his trust in engineering.  And figuring that if the bridge had held up all this time, the odds were in our favor for it lasting through our visit.

It did.

These two crazy kids took a zip-line across the gorge!  Nothing but a canvas sling between them and a thousand foot plunge!  

(That number is merely symbolic.  I don't remember how far down it really is.)

When we were all back on the visitor's center side of the gorge, we took this family photo.

Don't we look gorge-ous?

You didn't think I could resist THAT, did you?