Last week I contemplated whether or not summer was ”over”. After spending a weekend in north-central California, I am pretty sure it’s still summer! For the past 30 years my husband’s family has been gathering at Lake Siskiyou outside of Mt. Shasta City for an annual family reunion. Over the past nine years we have attended most of them. Last year it was cancelled due to all of the fires, including the Carr Fire, that raged around the State. The size of the gathering ebbs and swells; this year felt a little like an ebb year. Over the winter one of the then four remaining Van Nes “kids” died, leaving just my mother-in-law and her two brothers of that oldest generation.
In each year of attendance we have never stayed in the same place twice. Our first year we rented one of the on-site trailers; that was OK except for teh swewer smell emanating from the bathroom; if we kept the bathroom door closed it was OK and we spent most of our time elsewhere anyway. The following year we purchased an older trailer and stayed in that; my husband traded that for a fishing boat over the following winter. Next we rented a house in town, which was OK except for the train passing through at all hours and the worst beds I have ever slept in (ever); he then found another used trailer that we towed up there. When that one gave out (the floor quite literally), we started staying in local hotels. This year our brother-in-law booked the rooms up in Weed. Being in Weed was fine; the rooms were not. Clean, yes, bed ok, yes, but cheap in ways that just make it sad - no tissues, shampoo in little tiny plastic bags, stuff like that. My in-laws were across the street and they paid the same amount and had much nicer rooms. Let’s just say that the BIL won’t be making our reservations in the future.
In addition to the family reunions, it was my husband’s 40th high school reunion. We arrived in Weed late on Thursday, spent Friday with the family then cleaned up and drove down to Redding that night for the casual gathering at a local sports bar. I honestly do not know how people living in Redding; it was 100 degrees at 7:30 PM. The gathering was actually a lot of fun, even for someone who knew very few of the folks there. Perhaps it is because by the 40th reunion people don’t feel like they have anything to prove and can just enjoy seeing their old friends? In any case, I did know a couple of people and met a couple more and found that my husband’s classmates were a fun, genuine and cordial group.
The rest of the weekend was devoted to the family; we did find time for a few bike rides around the lake - there is a beautiful trail for hiking and biking - but mainly we hung out and got caught up. It was warm - nice mornings but in the 90’s during the hottest part of the day - and we swam, boated and just enjoyed being with family.