We had a family cookout.
My cousin, Jon, and his family came to Delaware to attend a wedding.
When we found out that he didn’t really have any plans for Friday evening,
it seemed like a good time to get together.

When I called Jon to ask him about whether it was something we could do,
he said in us usual dry humor:
“I’d be interested in something like that if we could keep it relatively small.”
(That comment is SO  Jon . . .)

We thought we could — especially since he did say that he didn’t feel quite ready for it to be an open house for the Greenwood community.  That was understandable.  However, until the evening was over, our “relatively small” group numbered 50.  It was still a really good time. 
Here are some pictures of the evening. 


Youngest Son holds his niece that he thinks is just so beautiful


Queena, glowing in the special glow of early pregnancy talks to
Christina, who is glowing in the special glow of being a new Mommy


Jon’s papa is a brother to my late daddy.  His Momma is my Sweet Mama’s sister.  So we have the same relatives.  I had invited the relatives on both sides, but this was the only Wert family member (beyond the two immediate families) who could make it.  Thanks, Aunt Freda, for making the effort. 
You and Uncle Vernon, Rock!!!
Here, Aunt Freda catches up on Ronda Weber’s life and times


Three generations:  My sweet Mama, my little sister, Alma, and her daughter, Carmen.
My Mama likes to sit on porch swings!


This is my grand-niece, Dorie Mast.  She is usually so sweet and happy.
Her Mama decided to give her a taste of a bing cherry.
She was NOT impressed.


This is one view of the supper tables.  In the front, on the left is Joel Bontrager.  Beside him is my oldest brother, Clint Yoder with his wife, Frieda.  Over Clint’s shoulder is Ronda Weber’s husband, Linford, and to the middle of the picture is Joe Bontrager.  You can almost see his wife, Gloria, sitting in front of him.  I see Uncle Vernon up there, and part of Dave Hertzler’s head behind Edie, who is all the way to the right with a napkin in her hand, preparing to wipe her mouth.


My brother in law, Jerrel Heatwole, Sr. talks to my cousin, James Bontrager.
James is often mistaken for my husband.
I would NEVER make that mistake.



Here he is.  My favorite.  If you look behind him you can see our Mimosa tree.
It has bloomed its heart out this summer.  I love looking at our yard, and Daniel is responsible for the restful, attractive layout of it.  He thought that this picture “showed his bald head too much.”
Who Cares???


This is my youngest brother, Mark Jr.
He, along witht the rest of my sibs, is one of my favorite people.


Christopher brought his fiddle.  I wish he would have played more.
He said that he didn’t feel right because it wasn’t announced that I wanted him to play.
I will know how to fix that little problem the next time around!!!
In the middle is Jared Weber, and on the right, Jesse Mast


This is our middle sister, Sarah.  (She is another of my favoritest favorite people)
She and our cousin, Judi, had plenty to talk about.
Judi is less than a year older than I am, and I have always cared so much what she thought —
about life, about people, about me. . .
I love getting older.  People can be good friends without some of the things that kept them apart years ago.
Judi is such a good friend, and I have come to love her dearly.
More than that, I appreciate her so much.
Blessings, dear cousin! 


Aunt Freda brought some old, old photo albums.
What a trip through time.
I can hardly believe those fresh faced Mama and Daddy.
I wonder what those little ones were thinking.
I look at the pictures of my grandparents, my daddy, and even Dawn.
And I think of them THERE.  NOW.  Safely home.
They are the ones who really have it made!!!


More chatting around the table. 
On the left is Sarah’s husband Bert
At the end of the table is our cousin, Yaul Poder
Then you see the back of Judi’s head
And then Sarah is looking abroad for who knows what.


Cousin Bonnie had another engagement for the evening, but she skedaddled herself on over when she was finished —  and we still had some good times left.
Aunt Freda is a very good friend of Bonnie’s Mama, My Aunt Dottie — who has often been seen on these pages.
Aunt Freda takes a keen interest in the younger generations, and here she is in deep discussion with Bonnie.


“I’m older, I’m wiser, and I have something important to tell you” is what it looks like my sweet Mama is saying.  She herself wonders just what it was that she was saying here, but we don’t really remember.


About that time, cousin Paul (Yaul Poder) put his head into the ring, and Clint had some point to make,
It was about this time that Paul told us a story.  It seems that one of Clint’s neighbors works with Paul.  So one day this neighbor says to Clint, “Do you know Paul Yoder?”  Clint, straight-face and sober replies, “Uh, yes, but it’s distant . . .”   This is not something that Paul will soon forget.


Far right, is Jon and Dawn’s youngest son, Stephen
Beside him is Kristin, the daughter who gave such a magnificent challenge at the funeral.
Next to her is their younger daughter, Amber.  She was in Thailand and came home
Resiliant, beautiful kids.
 I am so impressed with the children of my cousin, Jon and his sweet wife, Dawn.
They are human, they will grieve —
And there are daily prayers going up for them.
But – – –  
“We do not grieve as those who have no hope”
And these kids are flesh and blood embodiment of this fact
They sat around the table, playing games, talking and being so normal.
. . . and yet their hearts must be breaking.
At the end of the table is Jesse Mast, brother to Queena’s husband, Ethan.

To the far left is Daniel Hubbard.  He and Jon’s oldest son, Robert, share living space.  Jon calls him “for all practical purposes, as son!”  Next in line is David Miller.  He came home from Europe to be with Amber and her family over this time.  This isn’t the most flattering picture of him, and I am sorry about that, but I didn’t get others.  And beside him is my nephew, Christopher and then, again, Jesse.


Mark has a reputation for leaving things at strange places.  Here, he is reclaiming a sport jacket that Aunt Freda somehow rescued for him after he had left it somewhere.  I’m not sure of the whole story, but I promise you that it has nothing to do with Mark’s fine attention to where he lays his accessories.
And Polly knows that!!!


Our precious grandbaby, Charis Nichole Bontrager,
slept and slept and slept.


In what has to be my favorite picture of the evening, Cousin Paul put his arm protectively around the shoulders of his younger brother and said, “Don’t you want a pitcher of me and my brudder????”
I did, I did!!!
Paul has shadowed Jon with loving concern and protective gentleness.
The knowlege of how Paul has been so incredibly watchful of Jon and his grief
reminds me again of how blessed we have been as a family.
I think of Jon going home to Alabama this week, and how the emptiness has had to hit him with gut force.
If memories of how people have prayed and cared and loved him is any help
(and I’m sure it is) I would have to believe that this brother’s strong arm will be a source of comfort that stands out in an overwhelming sea of condolences and well wishes.

“He’s not heavy.  He’s my brother!!!”


And when everyone had gone home, Christina stayed behind to help me clean up.
Charis was her usual smiley, gregarious, irresistable self so we had to take a few pictures
This was my favorite:


How fiercely grateful we are for this precious gift!!!



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9 responses to “

  1. your family has the best family reunions! Some day I will go to mine again but until them I can see pictures and imagine how fun! 🙂

  2. Loved the peak into your gathering. 

  3. Thanks for sharing the glimpse into the “family fun times.” 

  4. Your granddaughter is such a cutie pie!!!

  5. I enjoyed these pictures tremendously! Thanks for taking the time to name everyone.

  6. Mama, Wow! Thanks for the pictures of everybody. It seemed a little odd to see Daniel there when it feels like I just saw him here. And the pictures of Daddy, and Lem and Charis were wonderful! It gave me warm fuzzy feelings.

  7. Charis is such a cutie! These are great pictures.ryc: We are not hunters. Bella is the hunter. She runs free, our neighbors love her also. As with most Beagles she is very good natured but independent and her extreme sense of smell keeps her in her own world, easily distracted and only obeys the “sit” command when she approaches me. Otherwise you can not override that strong sense of smell that distracts her. The dog show Beagles have been bred and inbred to the point they have lost that keen sense of smell. Thus they are trainable.  Bella is Bella and other than sitting when she comes to us we expect nothing of her. She is entertaining enough by simply being Bella. She may come when she is called then again if she catches the scent of something away she goes after it.

  8. A.Mary, thanks-a-million for this. I love all these people so much, and I wished so much to be there. I cried just a little thinking of Amber (she is one of MY favorite people… we were on Drama Team together at Rosedale), and I laughed right out loud about dad and his jacket. I think (well, really I know) that he passed that little forgetful trait on to us. Love you so.

  9. My heart aches thinking of Jon and his children.  Thanks for all the good pictures and sharing your special evening with us.

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