Today I need to take a little time to share about the Easter gathering our family had. We all, well at least those who were available, gathered in Wishek at Melissa and Bruce’s place. James and Paulina and I have been attending church in Wishek off and on a little bit this past winter. It is closer than going to our church in Mobridge, and selfishly, there is no road construction between here and there. I am not much of a fan of road construction, although I do like improved roads. Sort of hard to have one without the other, but that is another story, not for today.
Here is the deal. The plan was for my part of the extended family to meet in Wishek for church. The pastor there, Tammy, is an old, old friend of mine. We worked together on one of the commissions when I was part of the Council of the North Dakota Conference of the UCC. I forget the exact name of the commission we were on, but it dealt with educational issues including Sunday school and camping and youth and the media center and I think women’s issues. Add to that the fact that Tammy is a cousin to son-in-law, Nate, and we have a regular old home week when we stop in Wishek.
We had no sooner sat in the pew when James tapped me to turn around. There sat Rev. Reiny Klein and his wife. Reiny was on the Conference Council at the same time I was, and we spent more than one trip at Pilgrim Park together. From that point on, I was a mess of nostalgia through the rest of the service. All I could think of were those days at the Park. It is located on Lake Metigoshe in the north central part of North Dakota. It is no longer a church camp, but many of the same buildings are still standing, and it is being used as a resort.
Jessica has been there since it was turned into a resort. She said that the only thing she didn’t see was the chapel. I would guess that was taken down for more than practical purposes. There were several bats claiming residence there the last time we were in it. Paulina for one entire winter complained about why we were going to the church in Jamestown instead of her “real” church. It wasn’t until we were looking at pictures from camp that we realized she was talking about the chapel at Pilgrim Park. Amazing how the minds of children work.
Sitting in the pew on Sunday, I just couldn’t help missing all the things we did in those days when the girls were young. We helped open the camp at least twice. We spent time there for a family thing. We were there for an annual meeting at least once. It was great. We also attended so many annual meeting for the conference including the one we hosted in Jamestown. I still hear how that was a great event. Somehow we have moved away from so many of those things, and it is sad. So many lives to live that we can’t stay with the one that mattered, the one that felt good. So many good people we met along the way, and have lost track of. No wonder I couldn’t help it that my eyes leaked a few times while I was sitting in the pew remembering all of those things.
Perhaps some of the nostalgia is because I have been thinking about the past off and on all month. Today is my last day of being 54. My father never made it past 54. His father never made it to 54. I am starting to wonder how much more there is. My Great Aunt Regina always said of all the children, I look the most like my father. I know that in many ways, I have his temperament. I used to feel that I had inherited some of his mathematical skill, but I know that I don’t have any of his mechanical ability. He was a genius in many ways, but never went to school past 8th grade, and so was stuck with what he had. Eventually the alcohol took most of the ability away, but that too is another story, not for today.
So, the gathering continued with all of my girls eventually making it to church. Jessica, Victoria and Jaxon came from Jamestown. Nate had to stay home and work his part-time job. James and Paulina and I were there also. Melissa and Carson shared a pew with all of us. Elisabeth was busy helping with some of the Sunday School, youth activities. Bruce was back and forth checking on dinner. Aunt Glenda came later after her church; she picked up my brother Adam on the way. Flossy couldn’t come because she too had to work. Steve and Adie were there as soon as their church was over. The only other ones not there was my sister Kathy and her family. Kathy went to Sioux Falls and hopped a plane with Tiffany to meet Peren in Chicago. He is home for a brief stay from Italy. Hope we all get together sometime before he has to go back.
Well, that is all for Easter Monday. No school today, just getting ready for the track meet in Hazen tomorrow, and trying to get over the memories that are really haunting me today.