Thursday, Certain Man gave me an incredible gift.
It all started when I saw in an e-mail to our family google group that I was going to drive Mama, Aunt Freda and Uncle Vernon, Aunt Gladys and Uncle Jesse up to a Lauver (my maternal grandmother’s family) Reunion that was being held on June 30th at Landis Homes in Lititz, PA. I had told Mama that I was planning to go and take her, but I hadn’t been pre-informed about the passengers. I decided that it would be just fine, though. I am not particularly fond of driving, but I CAN do it, and have had reasonable experience with short day trip kinds of things. The thought of being with those five wonderful people was especially inviting, so the plans were made.
Now Uncle Vernon has some good days and some bad days. He is battling an especially unpredictable liver disease, and the last few weeks have been a bit more challenging, so he decided that he would just stay home. I really hated that he wasn’t going. He is an encourager by gifting and a kind and thoughtful man. We would have been blessed to have him along, but of course, we understood.
But that left an empty seat in the mini van, and it suddenly dawned on my fur brain that maybe — just maybe — Certain Man could be prevailed upon to drive this motley crew. He has a few vacation days rattling around, and he guards them zealously, but he happens to like my relatives pretty well, and he likes to drive, so MAYBE?!?!?!?!?!?
He said that he could!!!!!!!!!! Glory Hallelujah!!!!!!!!
Family reunions are wonderful things, and spirits were high as we started off.
Certain Man and Uncle Jesse in the front. (MAN power!) Sweet Mama and Aunt Gladys in the middle two seats
And Aunt Freda occupied the seat beside me:
The back seat was just plain POWER!
(We could “boss” from back there!)
Here are my favorite pictures from the day:
My Sweet Mama is the “secret-est tellin’ woman” and she dearly loves her older brother, Harold Wert.
I don’t know who they were discussing, but I think it had something to do with a “couple they weren’t quite sure who they were” business.
My Aunt Mary (Uncle Harold’s wife) is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia or some other tragic disease.
She and my Sweet Mama were always best friends, and the disease hasn’t taken that away.
I am so thankful to God for good memories.
These two have some memories together that are really great!
Glen and Emma (Bender) Myers.
Emma (Mama’s cousin) helped out at our house when I was a toddler and my little brother, Mark, jr., was born.
I remember their wedding day. And that was 50 years ago this summer.
For those of you who may wonder how this family is part of my mother’s family —
My Grandmother Wert, Alma Lauver, was a sister to Esther (Lauver) Bender,
who married my Grandmother (Savilla Bender) Yoder’s brother, Nevin.
(This is one family that showed up at the reunions on my mother’s side and on my father’s side.)
Mary Lou (Lauver) Blank, cousin to Mama and her siblings, suffers from Parkinsons, but has a sweet, gentle and joyful spirit.
My Uncle Jesse, with Mama’s cousin, Paul Bender, and his wife Ginny and one of their sisters in law
Nevin James Bender and his brother, Paul, sit together, watching the all the people.
Another brother of Paul and Nevin James, this is Don Bender talking to my uncle, Harvey Yoder,
who is married to my mother’s sister, Alma Jean.
I heard the comment on Thursday that Don looks like his father, Uncle Nevin Bender.
(What do those of you who knew Uncle Nevin think?)
This is my Uncle, Allan Shirk, with his grandson, Ethan.
This is a cousin of mine that I honestly hardly know.
She is Uncle Allan and Aunt Ruth’ Ann’s daughter, Melissa,
talking with Uncle Jesse.
She is also Ethan’s mama. She and her husband recently moved from Indiana to Pennsylvania,
seeking greater opportunities for their only child, Ethan who is autistic.
And the whole family is pleased with the progress that he is making.
Uncle Allen talks with Certain Man as they both take a much deserved break.
My cousin, Barb Gingrich, looks over the shoulder of her mother, my Aunt Orpha (Gingrich),
who is looking at a photo album with my Aunt Mary.
The gal in the white blouse is my cousin Jeanne Witmer, whose husband died of cancer 16 months ago.
Next to her is my aunt, Freda Zehr.
My Sweet Mama’s siblings are all still living.
In fact, the only one missing from even the spouses is my Daddy.
In the back, from left to right:
Aunt Gladys (Married to Jesse Yoder) Dover, DE
Aunt Alma Jean (Married to Harvey Yoder) Harrisonburg, VA
Aunt Freda (Married to Vernon Zehr) Greenwood, DE
Aunt Ruth Ann (Married to Allan Shirk) Lancaster, PA
Front Row, Same direction:
Uncle Lloyd (Married to Beverly Shriner) Gap, PA
Uncle Harold (Married to Mary Hepner) Lititz, PA
My Sweet Mama (Married to the late Mark Yoder, Sr.) Greenwood, DE
Aunt Orpha (Married to Lloyd Gingerich) Richfield, PA
It was truly a great time together, and well worth our time to go.
On the way home, after dropping off Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys in Dover, our trusty mini-van developed some problems. Certain Man couldn’t get it to shift into third gear. We had just been talking about it on the way up to the reunion — how much we liked it, how the transmission had been replaced some time ago, and how it had almost 250,000 miles on it. And, how thankful we have been for this trusty servant. Certain Man towed it into the transmission shop this afternoon, and we shall see what is wrong and how much it will take to fix it.