I’ve always enjoyed family reunions.
As a child I remember anticipating the summer reunion every July at Jasper Park. As a fifth generation descendant of Cornelius Hills, who settled in the Willamette Valley in 1848 and who developed one of the first 640-acre land claims in the area, I was expected to come and join the others who claimed Cornelius in their heritage. I didn’t know he and his wife produced the first while male born in the region. Nor did I know that the community of Jasper and its surrounds had once been part of the original donation land claim and named for that first boy.
I only knew that Fred Hills and others who had claimed the elder Hills as their grandfather brought coolers of soda and ice cream to accompany the potluck dinner. When I grew proficient enough to play a keyboard for an audience, my father toted our electronic organ to the park and I became part of the reunion entertainment. Great memories.
When I married, my husband’s family began a tradition of summer reunions in Redmond, Oregon, an almost three-hour drive from our home. The park there was chosen because so many of the original family members had settled in the area. With at least two of the families claiming six or more children, there were lots of cousins, nephews, and brothers to become re-acquainted. Family was important to this group. Pictures were always taken to remind them of the experience.
This year we had to miss the gathering. The temperatures have been sizzling and a number of incidents over which we had no control claimed our energies. But I have pictures of past reunions to warm my heart and to wish each family member a successful year.
In the Bible we are told to honor our families: Exodus 20:12 (NIV)”Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Another faithful promise.