The Abusua (Clan)
A week of amazing grace (and/or...) at High Country Lodge in/ near Breckenridge CO.
Was the reunion perfect? Not quite. Was it fun? Amazingly. Was it worth the effort? Absolutely. Will we meet again? Definitely. (Like the Olympics, should we try for every four years? How does 2004 sound?)
July 10 to 16, 2000, after months of planning, endless e-mails and phone calls, some anxiety that a week of family might test the love and patience of a Zen master, we gathered at High Country Lodge near Breckenridge. The Lodge was less than luxurious, but almost perfect for the time and place.
With 11 bedrooms, a plumbing system that imposed a sense of togetherness (No shower or flush if water was running anywhere in the Lodge..), the immediate sense that we were together, at last, with all our strengths, foibles, humor and eccentricities, we gathered and hugged and laughed and told stories, and listened and explored and cooked and ate and loved being together. For many (most) of us, there was a sense of connection and wonder that we waited so long. We gathered..
17> connected 18>
and celebrated being a family..19> 20> & ate some more..
The good, the bad and the beautious from left to right...1.> Jan, P. Fred, Marcy, Paula, Lenna, Nicholas...2> Mike, under the table for a good, noble reason..3> Lise,as in Mrs. Pawley, her false eye painted on her eye bandage, her father, Wayne..4> P. Fred, Jan ..5> Lise, Jan, Wayne, Jeff, as in Mr. Pawley, Laura, Bill..6> Lise, Danielle, DeShawn..7>Jeff, Ann, P.Fred, Jack, Kathy..8> P. Fred, Steve, Ann's sister,Sue, Bill..9> Kiara, Ann, Wayne..10> Kiara, Lenna..11> Bill, Greg & Matthew Scott, Tooge, Jack, Nicholas..12> Nicholas, Mom Marcy..13> Jan,Gretchen, Marcy,Mike,Lise (horse names to follow) ..14>Laura's kids, Kiara, Derek, DeShawn... 15> Greg, Jeff, Lise, rafter guide/babe, Tooge..16> Lise, Nicholas the great dice roller, Paula, ? ..17> Mike, Jan..18>the Arkansas river, rafter dude, Jan, Greg, Lise, Tooge, Jeff, Gretchen, Mike, Darryl, Danielle..19> the Scott Family (Joanie, Matthew, Greg) with Nicholas..20> Laura and kids (Derek, DeShawn, Kiara) with Lenna..21> P. Fred, Jack, Kathy, Greg, Laura, Jeff, Wayne, Lise
There were moments of reflection..thoughts of patient, perplexed, perhaps unnerved spouses, steadied by the assurance that the familial nonsense they witnessed was hereditary, therefore, not contagious. ..These thoughts did not come from the gentle, loving presence of Nicholas. They appeared during the manic antics of those who have the blood of Gaelic mania running through their veins. (See the old ones below.) Above: Jeff, "Wayne, I feel like a voyeur." Wayne, "Jeff, I've been doing this for 30 years."
We fed the body...We did indeed eat well with gourmet dinners prepared by groups of incredible cooks. (A week of gastronomic greatness)
.......and the spirit... (A day of aquatic acumen, i.e. rafting on the Arkansas River)
.......as well as the soul (if not the ears)... ("Over in Dear Ireland")
The first night, Martha Stewart's absence was barely noted, for there was a guest appearance of the old ones. Mary Margaret Catherine Ida Helen Esther Edna Mollie Annie Hannah Gallagher Curran O'Keefe O'Dwyer, her brother William Charles James Henry Frances Joseph John Paul Timothy and elder brother, Jack, gave a moving (or was it painful) rendition of "Over in Killarney" (See lyrics to "Over in Dear Ireland.").
Marcy was awarded the first "Golden Potato" (a.k.a. "Golden Testicle") award for her efforts in organizing the reunion.
On the second festive evening, Uncle Jack gave a reading of "The O'Keefe Family," with comments from Darryl ( Jack's paper on the O'Keefe Family soon to be on the web)
There was a magical history tour to Leadville where we genuflected before the faux-marble mantle handpainted by Henry O'Keefe and posed in front of the O'Keefe house (See Leadville pilgrimage).
Lise and Jeff brought sacred peaches from the putative Dwyer peach ranch near Palisade (at Bridges Switch), having rounded up the little doggies themselves. On their trip to Breckenridge, they took numerous photographs of unidentified, unknown houses, farms near Palisade. With the help of Cartographer Extraordinaire, Jack, they showed amazing dedication in trying to find the Dwyer peach ranch again, as they drove west back to California. This time, with success!! Thanks, Lise and Jeff. (See peach ranch pilgrimage.)
Yes, even at the last supper, our collective past emerged as elements had turned mysteriously green (Forgive the leprechauns, Mike. That was great wine.)
Was the reunion perfect? Not quite. Was it fun? Amazingly. Was it worth the effort? Absolutely.
Will we meet again? Definitely. (Like the Olympics, should we try for every four years? How does 2004 sound?)