Well this past weekend we took off to our family ranch up in Hedley,B.C as family flew from across the country and drove hours to meet and spend time together. This is not something that happens often and we were thrilled to be all in the same place at the same time and enjoy getting to know each other better, making memories, laughing together, drinking excessively and just enjoying each other’s presence.
This took months to plan with the amount of people attending and the fact that “The ranch” is hours from where any of us live and also lacks cell service or a major grocery store in close proximity.
We had to make sure everything was planned out well. The meal plans started months ago with our lists, upon lists of food we would need and all the appropriate items to host this many people in such a secluded setting. We had 3 of us to do the major grocery shops in a 2 day period at Costco first to do a dry shop and then a wet shop the day before. We had tent, table, and chair rentals that were needed for seating and cover for meals that needed to be picked up and had to be arranged for our own pick up of these items due to the fact that no business in the lower mainland would deliver that far away without costing an arm and a leg. We had a family member arrange a karaoke machine for night time entertainment which ended up being a lifesaver due to rain we did not predict.
People started arriving Thursday evening with travel trailers, kids and dogs. All so excited to spend time together and enjoy the outdoors. The tents and table and chairs were set up with all the food organized and our activities set in place to start hosting first thing Friday.
Day 1 (Friday)
As the Van loads of people started arriving the anticipation and excitment started to set in. With having this many people there was this unknown feeling and nervousness of Will it work out?, Will people have fun? Will the weather hold up ? etc. But no matter what we were together at last and going to make the best of it. Even if we got terrible weather or eaten alive by bugs.
The first night was fresh right off the farm HOMEADE beef burgers. So suitable since we were on a cattle ranch right?! Everyone huddled under the tents enjoying the delicious burgers and each other’s company. After dinner we headed up to another house on the property which has a massive covered deck to enjoy some nighttime karaoke. Well it was off to a rough start as I don’t think everyone was drinking enough yet but it didn’t take long for people to warm up. About an hour into it there was a line up to get up on stage, young, old, good singer, bad singer, it didn’t matter everyone took a turn bringing out their inner “Madonna”. Even though it had started to rain the men got the fire going so we could huddle around it when it wasn’t down pouring. That evening we got to witness our cousin propose to his girlfriend after singing Bruno Mars “Marry you” a moment none of us will forget. It set the tone for a great start to the weekend together filled with so much love and happiness.
Day 2 (Saturday)
Up at sunrise to enjoy some peace and quiet and the beautiful setting. Breakfast time we popped a bottle of champagne and had mimosas on the deck which was the perfect start to the day. People started rolling in again after breakfast for another day full of adventure and fun. People split up and toured the ranch and area. Some going on ATVs some horseback riding, others gathered by the pool and drank. Just a fun filled day.
Lunch time was make your own sandwiches and DRINK! Shot gunning beer by the pool in the sprinkling rain and catching up with everyone. By late afternoon everyone started getting ready for our dinner out in town. Our family rented the only real restaurant in Hedley “The hitching post”and hired a band to entertain us. The band was a bit of a flop so we carried on and headed back for night 2 of karaoke, more drinks and another bonfire with yummy s’mores. The karaoke was an even bigger hit on night two with everyone totally out of their shells and the booze flowing the party carried onto the wee hours of the morning.
Day 3 (Sunday)
Feelin a little rough around the edges, everyone moving a bit slower. Breakfast was fend for yourself which was a good thing cause half of us couldn’t even look at food that morning. That morning a crew of the guys went out shooting while the women all sat around visited and sipped our coffee’s.
The afternoon was spent doing a lot of the same thing, sitting by the super warm pool, listening to music, visiting with everyone before people started heading back home. BBQ Hot dog lunch was served and corn on the cob fresh from the okanagan. After lunch people already started saying their goodbyes as some people were traveling on even further for an extended vacation.
The Goodbyes started and the unsettling sad feeling sets in thinking about when or if this kind of gathering will ever happen again. Not knowing is sad but remembering all the good times and amazing memories we created is something that makes that sad feeling a little bit easier. Family is so important as I get older and even though you can drive each other crazy at times and every family has problems or issues its so important to try and overcome them and remember that even though you have differences and tension at times its still family. They are the ones that will be there in the end, the ones to pick you up when your broken, the ones to give you a roof over your head in times of struggle. They are the ones that are never going anywhere. So when reading this remember. No matter how perfect someone’s family appears to be on the outside or how blessed and fortunate they may seem, everyone has a story. Everyone has troubles. Everyone has issues at times. Some people are just better at hiding it than others! But at the end of it all its about making memories, creating special moments your heart and soul will never forget. Learning to love and support one another even when its tough. Its about playing together! “A family that plays together, Stays together”
FOR ALL MY FAMILY THAT ATTENDED LAST WEEKENDS REUNION OR DIDN’T…. LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH