Friday, July 20, 2018

Our Canadian Family Reunion

My mother's family held a first of its kind family reunion this past June.  The planning for this reunion started about two years ago and we finally saw it become a reality this past month.  It was not without its crazy difficulties, as our travel plans were canceled by the airlines we booked it through not once, but twice!  And my family was not the only one who had flights canceled, my brother and his family, as well as my mother, suffered cancellations in their travel plans as well.

Our original flight plans were to fly into northern Maine and drive from there to New Brunswick.  However, back in May, one of the airlines we had our flight booked with discontinued their services to the airport, and that flight was canceled.  So, we booked a flight with a different airline into a different airport.

Then, just as we were about to walk out the door to head to the airport for the trip, we got a text from the airline saying our flight had been canceled.... not delayed...canceled!  It was four desperate hours that ensued as I was on the phone with the airline trying to find another flight for our family of four.  Multiple times as she would try to book the flight for me, it would disappear.  Bad weather in Chicago was blamed for the problem.  Finally, it became apparent that we would not be able to find a flight with this airline, or any other US airline that would get us to the reunion in time.

I remained calm throughout it all, and felt a peace from the Lord that it would all work out.  I prayed it would.  After the four hours on the phone, and our trip canceled, we all felt rather discouraged.  It was then that my husband thought to check out the Canadian airlines, as we live about three hours from the closest Canadian airport in British Columbia.  It was a miracle!  He found a flight that would accommodate all four of us leaving the next evening, allowing us to arrive just in time for the reunion... and at about the same cost (minus the difference in currency) that our canceled flight had cost.

Praise the Lord! The next morning we got up early and decided to make a fun day of it, since our flight would not leave until 8 p.m.

We took our time traveling to the airport, enjoying the scenic route and the provincial parks and scenery along the way. 

We even drove through a little town with a bridge named after our son.  He was quite intrigued with the bridge as it was very old and full of character. 


The highlight of our travels brought us to Tim Horton's, our favorite Canadian coffee shop.  We loaded up on caffeine and sugar... we had a long night ahead of us!

We arrived at the airport, and felt like we had stepped back into time!  We couldn't believe the difference in the Canadian attitude towards air travel, so relaxed, friendly and pleasant.  No pat downs!  No x-ray machine!  We didn't have to take shoes or jackets off to go through security.  We saw one man's luggage ahead of us spill out onto the floor.  Several of the agents rushed to his aid, helping him put it back together.

Canadian hospitality at its best :) 


Because the security area was so small, you could only go through security 15-20 minutes before your flight.  Then, you walked out onto the tarmac with the incredible view of the mountains surrounding you.  What a great way to start this adventure!

We flew Air Canada, and were quite impressed with their hospitality throughout all our flights with them. 

Once again, I realized why the calm had come from the Lord in the moment of desperation.  What a blessing it was to travel through Canadian airspace, enjoying their kind hospitality throughout all the airports we were in.  

My uncle picked us up at the airport and of course the first thing we wanted was a sit-down meal.  We arrived around noon Atlantic time, which was about 8 a.m. our time. No matter, it was lunch time for us!  When I saw the lobster roll on the menu, we bonded!  Oh, it was so good!  If you are ever in Salisbury, NB, visit the Silver Fox restaurant there to have this lobster roll.  It was a treat! 

It was pouring down rain as we drove towards my grandmother's home.  We crossed through the longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland en route. We had a joyous reunion with family at my grandmother's home and spent the evening visiting and playing Yahtzee with my Gram.  Gram suffers from macular degeneration and glaucoma and is legally blind.  However, she can see enough to read her large dice and she played a great game of Yahtzee with us... beating us!  It was wonderful to spend this time with her the night before the reunion.

The next morning dawned clear and bright.  The familiar St. John River glittered in the sunlight. 

The next day, we traveled to the campground where the family reunion was to take place.  My mom's oldest sister manages the campground and our family had reserved this weekend to have our reunion there.

Several family members had come earlier to help set up the tables and prepare for the gathering.  My mom's family is Danish.  My grandfather traveled to New Brunswick from Denmark as a child, and my grandmother was born in the Danish community of New Denmark.  And of course it was also Canada Day weekend, hence the reds for both the Danish heritage and Canadian flag abounded everywhere! 

 This special area was decorated for my grandmother to sit and visit with all the family who came.  The green tree behind her held the names of all her children. 
Our family stayed overnight at the campground in one of these cabins.  All of them were open for family members to spend the night there.  They were cozy and darling little cabins, all of them equipped with air conditioning, which was wonderful since the nights are hot and muggy there. 
Later in the afternoon, the skies turned rather ominous, and a storm was brewing.  Many trying to get to the reunion had to drive in terrible weather to make it.  Thankfully everyone arrived safely in spite of the large amount of rain that downpoured just as we were about to eat.... thankfully inside! 
The food for the weekend was put together by my mother's large family, and a group of dedicated sweet ladies and gentlemen who worked tirelessly in the kitchen so we could enjoy our time together visiting.  We were so blessed to be able to spend our time visiting, and not having to be in the kitchen.  My aunt did a tremendous job of organizing the event with the help of her sisters and brothers as well.  Many thanks were extended to her and those who helped her for their hospitality!

Delicious desserts decorated with the Danish flag! 


Lemon meringue pie, one of my favorites :) But then... I don't know that I've met a pie I didn't like! lol... 

Early the next morning, I went for a walk down the country road the campground is located on.  I waved to a lady who was out working in her yard.  She said hello, and we struck up a conversation.  Before long, she was giving me a tour of her garden and flowers! Another example of Canadian hospitality :) 

This is one of the irises found in her garden, it was huge!  You can see the beating the flowers had taken from the rain the night before.  She was mopping up the damage, but still, her flower garden had survived the onslaught of the rainstorm, and there were still many gorgeous blooms. 

This peony! Oh my, it was gorgeous.  I believe it was called "Bowl of Beauty".  It was huge! And stunning! 

In spite of the storm passing through the night before, their petals were still intact and beautiful!
 I enjoyed my visit with my new friend so very much that we exchanged our addresses, and plan to keep in touch.  We do share a love for the garden and flowers! 



Our time spent visiting with family passed oh so quickly!  It was hard to believe that all the anticipation for the event had come and gone.  It was a wonderful time of connecting with cousins, aunts, and uncles.  We played a game of baseball, and anyone who wanted to play or hit the ball could play, and it was the most amazing time that we all had.  I hadn't played baseball in years, and it was so much fun.  We reminisced about the times as kids we would play baseball in our grandparents' cow pasture using cow patties for bases.  Those were the days, ha!

On Sunday morning we went to church with my Gram, and then it was an afternoon of fun 4-wheeling.  My uncles provided us with 4-wheelers, and there were trails all over my grandparents land that we enjoyed. 


The trails wove in between the power lines and the woods. 

It was a gorgeous afternoon, and the potato fields seem to stretch for miles. 

Soybeans were growing in this field. 

You can see my grandparents home and barn from a distance.  These pictures were all taken from a 4-wheeler.  :) 

Because it was Canada Day, after our 4-wheeling adventure, we headed over to one of my aunt's homes to celebrate with a wiener roast and fireworks.  Hot dogs were provided with sticks, and you got to roast your own! All the kids had so much fun with that!  They were happy to roast wieners for the adults who were enjoying visiting!


My aunt and uncles home sits on the St. John River, and we took a walk down to the river at sunset. Beautiful! 

Soon it was time for fireworks! 


The guys put on quite a show for us!  

Our time was passing so fast!  Our last day there and it was back on the 4-wheelers for another ride around the trails. 

Our son on one of the 4-wheelers. 

A closer view of the old barn.  It is cordoned off as it is no longer safe to be in.  Lots of memories as a child were spent in that old barn, and it was sad to see it in such shape, knowing that its days have come to an end.  


A view of the back of the house and barn. 
Too soon it was time for us to pack up and fly back across the country.  Our travels home went rather smoothly, although 2 pieces of our baggage did get misplaced at the end of the trip.  Air Canada was kind enough to send a courier with our baggage when it arrived the next day and brought it to our home.  So all our travels ended well, and the most incredible and special memories were made during the short few days that we were there.  We chose to spend as much time as we could with our Gram in the short time we were there, and I'm glad we did.  While it seemed almost impossible at times for us to make it to the reunion, it did happen, and what a blessing it was.

Back home, the garden and dogs had been tended by dear friends, and all was well.  It had rained quite a bit while we were gone, so things were still green and lovely.

I shall put up another post quite soon with pictures of my garden as it is now getting lots of warm sunshine, and happy things are happening in there.  It is hard to believe this is already the 20th of July... it seems time just marches on far more quickly in the summer!  This is the season to be out of the house, in the sunshine, and enjoying the warm weather.  We anticipate these days all winter long, and make the best of it while we have it :)

I hope that your summer has been full of lovely and wonderful things as well, and I look forward to getting caught up on my blog visiting and reading after settling back into a normal routine after our trip.  Blessings and hugs to all :)

37 comments:

  1. Hello dear Marilyn...lovely to stop in for a visit with you today...
    Oh, so happy to hear you had a wonderful time with your family! It looks like you all really enjoyed yourselves! Praise the Lord that you could it to the reunion in time but my, what a run around you had with flights!
    Sending hugs your way!

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  2. What a delight to read about your time visiting your family Marylin!
    Airline travel can be a hassle but Our Lord knew you needed to be there and He provided. Thank you so much for sharing. ...

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  3. Such a wonderful experience traveling and with family! Memories to treasure!

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  4. So sorry about the flights/mix ups/cancelations. What lovely photos. We recently walked across from Niagara, NY to Niagara Falls, Canada. I can attest to the friendless, smiles. Hope you have a lovely weekend, friend. smiles

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  5. What a wonderful trip, Marilyn. Even with all of those flight cancellations, it's evident that you were meant to be there.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading about your travels and the reunion itself. It sounds like an absolutely wonderful time with your family. I’m so glad Air Canada stepped in and in such a great and efficient way.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  7. I'm so glad you were able to make it to the family reunion and that Canadians were friendly and hospitable. As much as I'd like to say we are all that way some grumps and unfriendly sorts do exist and make life unpleasant for others.
    All your photos are lovely! The blue skies and green fields look so freshly washed.
    Out here, on the other coast, it's so dry and has been hot that the grass is brown and flowers wilty. We're sure hoping for some rain. Also because of the forest fires which are more to the north of us.
    Enjoy these last days of July!

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  8. What a blessing to have such a wonderful family to make special memories with. I enjoyed seeing it all through pictures. Gram sounds like a lovely lady.

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  9. Dear Marilyn ... Thank you so much for your visit to Homespun Cottage. I always love hearing from you. Your family reunion sounds like such a wonderful time and many, many good memories were made. I am so happy that it all worked out for you and your family. Weekend Blessings ♥ Teri

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  10. With the rocky start you had in your travels, it sounds like the reunion more than made up for it.Thanks for sharing this special time with us in bogland.

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  11. What a joy to visit your blog today and read about your adventures at the reunion. Treasured memories that will last a lifetime.

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  12. Loved seeing the photos and hearing all about your fabulous family reunion, Marilyn. Oh, what precious memories you will take with you always!
    Blessings!

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  13. OMGOSH, Marilyn! What a fantastic reunion! I can't imagine all the fun you all had connecting and laughing and reliving past moments. There is nothing like family in the world. I miss that my family is almost all gone now (on my side). Life changes when that happens so enjoy every moment of it. xo Diana

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  14. Oh my goodness, my friend!
    I so enjoyed this post...slowly scrolling through each photo and savoring every word about your wonderful family reunion!
    I cannot imagine the joy your Grandma felt at having so many loved ones with her.
    And I love the thought of sharing all those memories of time spent at the farm.
    Time passes so quickly.
    I wish when I was young I would have realized that!
    Thank you!
    And I know you will enjoy the memories forever. : )

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  15. So happy for you and your family that all the flight hiccups were sorted and you were able to enjoy your family reunion. It sounds as if you all had the most wonderful time. How fabulous you were all able to be together and enjoy good times and reminisce wonderful memories.

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  16. How awesome is our God!! Always guiding our steps! I so enjoyed reading of your family's reunion, and of all the wonderful memories you created!
    Blessings,
    Sue

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  17. Hi,
    This was so fun to read, again God is so Good. I always enjoy reading about your life, family and adventures. I love that you toured a garden too and made a new friend.

    Thank you for sharing my friend. Enjoy the rest of summer. Harvest is here for us. It is going to get busy. ;-)
    Love, Carla

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  18. What a delightful trip to and from and during your family reunion! How wonderful that so many could participate, and that God arranged such perfect transportation for you! We are going to a family reunion this coming weekend in North Carolina, but it won't be quite as big a deal as yours was. I'm so glad you could spend time with your Gram. My parents are both gone now, and our reunion will be my siblings and I and our children and their families...but some will be missing. My oldest brother has ended up in the hospital with acute leukemia, and is having 5 weeks of chemotherapy and is not permitted to leave the hospital, so that is putting a bit of a damper on our gathering. But we plan to visit him on our way. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Looking forward to seeing some flowers, etc. Loved the pictures here today. Thank you so much for sharing it all with us.

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  19. The scenery, the flowers, the food! So much eye candy and goodness in this post. What a fun reunion!

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  20. Oh, my, it was just so wonderful to visit with you today!!!! This post is just so full of the goodness of the Lord, and I am so thankful for how He led you and guided you and blessed you to make it to the reunion on time. It sounds like it was just a delight to be there and enjoy the food and fellowship and family times. Your Gram sounds like a dear gem ~ we used to play Yahtzee with my dear, sweet Mom. Hearing about that brought back such sweet memories. I am so thankful your garden fared well while you were gone. I can't wait to see your pictures in the next post and hear about all you are planning to do with the harvest. Love and appreciate you, sweet friend!

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  21. What a wonderful trip, Marilyn. I'm glad Canadians treated you well - that pleases me. Not all Canadians are kind and helpful. I live in BC, yet I had to look up Yahk Provincial Park - I've never heard of it before. So glad all the pre-trip hassles were resolved. It's lovely to be with family.

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  22. That looks like an amazing trip! Good times with family, good food, and such beautiful sights!

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  23. Marilyn, your family did something that so many families (including ours) often talk about doing, because it seems the only times we ever get together with extended family like that is at funerals. The way your family did this is the way to go...fun and special memories that you will have with you forever.

    Hugs to you, my friend.

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  24. I firmly believe that things happen for a reason and they usually work out - just differently than our original plans. And how wonderful to have the reunion.

    We have a family reunion coming up in September. It began as a 70th birthday party for 4 of us, but it has grown. It only involves a 2 hour drive and a 1 hour boat ride for us.

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  25. I love stories with happy endings, and this certainly did! You got some great pictures of this beautiful country, and I know you are taking home so many wonderful memories. Family time is the best!

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  26. Family reunions are the best and yours sounds like one for the books...even after all the travel clichés...the Lord had it all under control. And you even made a new friend who grows GORGEOUS flowers! Many blessings, Marilyn!

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  27. WOW!!! When your family throws a reunion they certainly do it up right :) I enjoyed every photo . . . what beautiful country :)

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  28. Family reunions are so good and I'm so pleased yours went well … once the travel arrangements were finally sorted.
    All of the photographs you've shared are lovely, and I know you will have so many memories to cherish.

    All the best Jan

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  29. I would to go to a family. I'm glad you were able to go. As always your photos are lovely.

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  30. Marilyn, I am so glad that your flights worked out. I've never flown on a Canadian airlines but sounds sweet to me. Did they serve food on the flight? Your reunion sounds like so much fun and the pics of the food - YUM! I look forward to seeing pictures of your garden. xx

    PS I'm your newest follower!

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  31. Oh dear you had quite a time with flights. Glad all turned out fine. It's a beautiful place where your grandparents live. It was indeed a good event and memory making for all of you. I enjoyed all these photos.

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  32. I read every single word! What a wonderful family reunion...and a blessing that there are so many of you and that your Gram is still living. We used to have huge family reunions when I was a kid with my dad's side of the family. Sadly, it has dwindled to just a few but I remember those reunions as one of the highlights of my life as a kid. I hope your kids feel the same way.

    Have a wonderful, blessed Sunday- xo Diana

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  33. What an enchanting reunion! It had all my favorites. Pretty flowers, cute cabins and Tim Hortons! LOL I hope you are enjoying all of summers delicious offerings.

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  34. Hi Marilyn, I had saved this post to comment on, and then it got kind of lost... so here I am! Your family reunion sounded WONDERFUL! How neat to be able to go and visit your gram and all your relatives there, and reminisce about the good ole' days! Her home and barn and land are just beautiful.. that entire country is gorgeous! I'm so glad your flight turned out OK and you got to fly via Canadian airlines. You were right to be calm during it all!

    I have to say, that iris flower is the most enormous I've ever seen! Amazing! And rain.. oh sweet rain. How I wish we would have some here. I don't think it's rained here for over 2 months at least. I'll have to go check and see when it did last rain, enough anyway so it would make the ground wet!

    I've seen your other posts and commented (hopefully) but sorry I forgot this one. My dad's relatives all lived back in the midwest, and I don't think there EVER was a family reunion, for which I'm very sad. I met a few of his siblings over the years when they would come visit him and my mom, but that was years and years ago. I think family reunions are just wonderful! Hugs... Marilyn

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  35. Ahhhh, Tim Horton's! You lucky girl, you! My dear friend, what a beautiful and blessed reunion. I am so glad you were able to go and spend time with your precious family. I so enjoyed reading about it and seeing your lovely pictures.

    I hope you are well and enjoying the summer. I HAVE MISSED YOU! Thinking of you and wishing you a lovely day. Love and hugs to you!

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  36. Oh how amazing this must all have been! I have greatly enjoyed looking through your pictures and pouring over your script. I am so happy that you could make it to the reunion and enjoy all the delights along the way...aside from flight cancelations.
    No exciting travel for me this summer, but I have greatly enjoyed being home and enjoying the two weeks of real summer. ha! Only two weeks that went consistently above 20C and then soared to 30C. But the coolness is more comfortable then the heat...so I will not complain. :)

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  37. Hi Marilyn! It has been some time since I've come by for a visit. Summertime is so busy, isn't it? I just had some of my family home and it was very busy but wonderful!
    It seems we have something in common! My grandparents lived in NB as well and theirs was my first home. {My son's girlfriend is Danish/Dutch} Only I lived in Moncton instead of St John. Family Reunions are so much fun! When I was growing up, we had one every year in NB with my mother's family and also once a year in NS with my father's family. Lots of memories were made during those years as I'm sure there were for you too. I'm glad the Lord had other arrangements for your travel to the Reunion. It's lovely that it all worked out so well and you all enjoyed yourselves. Thank you for sharing with us and enjoy the rest of your week. Blessings...Sandi

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