I kept meaning to write about the reunion itself. I wrote about the trip down but not about the actual reunion. I’ve been really busy planning Kathy’s art exhibit and the reception on September 17. And there is music and work to write about, too.
I had slept in the car overnight in West Virginia. I made it the rest of the way by late the next afternoon. It was wonderful seeing everybody when they were there. In fact, we were never all there at the same time. So, there was no big family photo. The first group departed before the last group arrived.
The house was huge. Kathy’s sisters rented a vacation home on one of the online sites (not AirBnB). It was in Northwest Georgia near Chattanooga, TN. The property even had a little pond for swimming although due to the extreme heat and extended drought, it was not as refreshing as it probably would be. But there were a few canoes and it was a nice walk around the pond. I got used to the heat. Most of the time.
We spent time remembering Kathy and looked at all the photos. Attempts were made to identify most of the people in them. Some of the people could have been neighbors or friends from the Army. Kathy’s brother, Ted was there, too. It was good to see him. Even with his Huntington’s Disease, he knew who everybody was. The house had a split level living room where we tended to congregate. Whenever he would get up to walk around, all the sisters, nieces and nephews would jump up to make sure he didn’t fall over. I got to talk to Ted and Anita’s son, Dillon. I haven’t seen him since a reunion some years ago. Once he finishes high school he wants to go to college in talent management and do A&R for a record company.
Remembrance Box. When we were talking about Kathy, her sisters brought out a box with small items in it that reminded them of Kathy and growing up with her.
Some of it was very funny. She liked to give her sisters haircuts so there was a little pair of scissors. Shells from when they would go to the beach in Fort Myers. A package of Jello mix because they used to take it from the kitchen to eat like candy in their ‘fort’. A package of hair dye because apparently, Kathy liked to experiment. There was a note with a little guitar begging her to stop playing “Hang down your head Tom Dooley.” I had forgotten that she even had a guitar.
We did a lot of ‘exploring’ and a lot of hiking. Because of the drought, the falls that we visited were just barely trickling. And the wildflower walk we went on was not in its prime. But it was still beautiful.
One of our outings was into Chattanooga, TN which was really a great city. I didn’t go to a lot of the attractions like the art museum or the aquarium but there was definitely a lot going on. There were sculptures arranged all around town. And an old bridge that has been repurposed into a pedestrian walkway from one side of the river to the other. I had hoped to play at an open mic but it was on a different night. So, that didn’t work out. Kathy would have loved some of the little craft and gift shops.