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.