Family Reunion: no kids, no spouses, no pets.

Family: noun, plural fam·i·lies, adjective
— noun

a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.

20131017-080525.jpgMy family. (Oh! My sibs are going to lurve that I have put this particular photo in my blog for the world to see. But hey! When you’re the baby of six, you’re lucky to have any pictures of yourself.)

20131017-084715.jpgOur daddy suddenly passed away eight years ago. We understand that every day is precious. Our mom will be celebrating her 84th birthday this Christmas. Although we live in California, Georgia and South Carolina, living completely different lives with jobs, children and other every day demands, we make it a point to gather and be with one another at least once a year.
Six months ago we decided that the siblings needed to plan time together alone with mom. Thanksgiving is usually when entire families and friends come to my house for food, games, activities and laughter, but it is very difficult to have full conversations with 30 people mingling around.

20131017-085946.jpgThis past weekend, four of my sisters, brother, mom and I traveled to Santee, SC. Our condo was located on Lake Marion, which provided us with a beautiful view of the water and the sights and sounds of local birds.

20131017-090912.jpgMy sister Annie flew in from California into the Charleston airport.

20131017-092857.jpgSince we were only minutes from the historical city, we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the water. Then we walked the streets admiring the architecture, gardens and wares in the Market.

20131017-093302.jpgBack at our hut in Santee, we pulled out old photographs, Jane and Mom had brought boxes that needed to be sorted and gone through. We took personal photos to lessen the load on my mom.

20131017-093556.jpgIt’s amazing how many memories a picture can bring to mind. I am ten to eleven years younger than my oldest sisters, so most of their stories don’t involve me, but I love hearing the retelling of their young lives.

20131017-094121.jpgThe weather was a little chilly and misty, but getting out and walking felt invigorating.

20131017-094230.jpgWe walked to an abandoned bridge that overlooked the lake, but first, we had to get by the gatekeeper.

20131017-094403.jpgThen my sister, Jane, had to overcome her fear of heights. That’s her walking directly down the yellow line. She’s so funny!

20131017-094540.jpgThe following day, we went for a drive and discovered the town of Lone Star…population 15.

20131017-094749.jpgNot seeing a single human being, we wondered if the population count was of cats…there were lots of those!

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20131017-095040.jpgSounds delicious!

20131017-095132.jpg Small yes, but it does have its own zip code!

20131017-095227.jpgHere we are hankin around at the Social Hall.

20131017-095335.jpgBelieve it or not, I did not bring a kitty home. Unfortunately, sister Sue had to go home and get ready to teach the next day.

20131017-095446.jpgMy brother likes to visit different wineries as he travels for work. He brought a few from Shelton Vineyards, which is located in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted.

20131017-100146.jpgAs the tradition continues, we started playing some games. The first one up was Tenzi dice game. This is a fast paced game that requires no skill. Perfect!

20131017-100704.jpgAnnie introduced us to the Ellen Degeneres game, Heads Up, in which the person with the phone to their head has to guess what is on the screen by watching the others act out the word. You can download this this game through the App Store.

20131017-101227.jpgThen we played the classic, Uno. The Rauscher family traditionally plays Phase 10, but somebody forgot to bring it!

20131017-102413.jpgAs you know, one minute you think you’re winning….

20131017-102525.jpgand the next, you’re drawing a whole bunch of cards!

20131017-102708.jpgIt was a great night with lots of laughs.

20131017-103056.jpgThe land of Santee and surrounding areas was once known for growing cotton. In fact, there is a working cotton gin factory still operating in the town of Elloree, just a few miles down the road.

20131017-103342.jpgSeeing fields of cotton drew us like a magnet. Of course, the two ding dongs of the group, me and David, hopped out of the car and cut a few fluffy stems.

20131017-103752.jpgIn the small town of Elloree, SC, we checked out a few antique stores….

20131017-104010.jpgA prayer alley, which I’m sure was once a beautiful, tranquil place to pray…

20131017-104135.jpgand a teapot museum, unfortunately was closed this day.

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20131017-104359.jpgWe spent time in an abandoned garden, where a lady who happened to walk by, stayed and talked to us about the plants and even got her shovel out to dig us a few cuttings. It wasn’t necessarily about the uniqueness of the plants, but about the heart that was behind it and slowing our pace down to spend time with a sweet stranger.

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20131017-105050.jpgI found an adorable rooster at this shop. He now sits in my garden, reminding me of how special my family is. Mom and Daddy raised six totally different children. We’ve gone our different ways, made our own decisions for the bad and good and have raised our own children. Some are rich, some are poor. Some go to church and some don’t. We all are sooo different. Yet…we all share in the belief that family is important. We respect each other, love one another, encourage each other and want the best for one another. We aren’t perfect, just looking for joy in the moments we are together.

Do you and your family make time for each other? Do make plans to be together? What have you done? I’d love to hear about it!
Thanks for dropping by!

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