Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Reunion of Firsts

Last weekend we traveled to Cedar City, Utah, for a Smith family reunion. That's Ed's mom's family - her brothers and sisters and their kids and grandkids. The picture below is just the Hickman clan, and while we were the most represented, there were plenty of other relatives there as well - it was a hefty crowd.In just two days of traveling and two days of reuniting I collected enough observations to fill many pages, but since we are leaving again tomorrow for another trip, if I don't post a little about the reunion now, I'm afraid I'll never catch up.One thing I noticed was how many "firsts" took place this weekend. It was Ginger's first plane ride, and ours with two kids. Also Hazel's first with her own seat. It was both kids' first time in Utah, and my first in Cedar City. It was the first time anyone besides Grandma Marsha met Ginger in person, and also our first meeting with several new nieces, not to mention second cousins. Ginger with 6-wk-younger cousin Talia

We flew from NYC to Salt Lake to St. George, UT, and then rented a car to drive to Cedar. But first we grabbed some lunch in St. George and went to visit the temple there. Hazel loves the pictures of temples, but has never been to one, plus the St. George Temple is where Ed's parents were married, so we wanted to see it. As you probably know, it was stunning and majestic, and Hazel proclaimed it "a castle!" She kept repeating that Grandma Marsha and Grandpa Mike were married there, and she wants to get married. She wanted to go in, but settled for checking out the fountain outside, and getting a small picture of Jesus from one of the sister missionaries in the visitor center. Hazel at the St. George Temple

Marsha's sister Georgia lives in Cedar so her house was home base for most meals - thanks, Georgia!!! - though we all stayed in a nearby hotel. Because there are so many little kids in the family, the agenda was relaxed and mostly revolved around mingling in Georgia's backyard over meals, and swimming in the hotel pool (Ginger's first.) On Saturday we took all the kids to a fun Discovery Park, and on Saturday night we got the Hickman boys to watch the kids while the girls went out for serious sundaes.

Sunday was probably my favorite. We drove about 50 miles to Milford, UT, where Marsha and her siblings grew up on a farm. We attended church and then had a picnic lunch at a park next to the cemetery where Ed's grandparents and many other Smith relatives are buried. It was Hazel's first time going barefoot outside. My camera batteries died or else I would have gotten a picture of the farmhouse, which we stopped by on the way back. Marsha rode in our car for that drive, so I grilled her about growing up on a farm, a concept so foreign to me as to be almost comical. I learned all about crops, cattle, railroads, and other industries of southern Utah.
It felt so surreal to come back to Brooklyn, having been gone only four days, and having been to a place so distant and different. But it was good for all of us to take a step away from busy city life and learn about our heritage. I guess it's not mine exactly, but it is Hazel's, Ginger's and Ed's, and my suspicions were confirmed that it's one to be proud of.


Jenifuz said...

Sounds like soo much fun! I can't wait to get out to Utah to visit my family! Fun pictures too!

Maren said...

What a great time! I think the St. George Temple is one of the most beautiful- along with its sister, Manti. Hazel can go barefoot here, too. Can't wait to see you!

Shells said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time. I love the picture of Hazel and the watermelon. I couldn't believe that was the first time she went barefoot, but then I remembered where you live!

kat said...

what a fun trip! and i can't believe you guys are actually taking a roadtrip with the entire family!! does that mean the blackberry is staying at home?


Shanda said...

I absolutely adore those pictures of our girls! I also love the one of Hazel in front of the temple. That one is going to be classic! I am so glad that you guys were able to come! I kinda got used to having you around and now I am in kari withdrawls. Not to mention Preston and I were both talking about what a doll Hazel is and how we are missing out with her so far away!

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