Remembering, reflecting and reminding...

Strengthening The McDaniel Family Tree

Mac Fam 11 Reunion

Everyone who attended the 3rd Annual McDaniel Family Reunion at the Snohomish home of Bob and Karolyn McDaniel today appeared to have an excellent time. The weather was great, the food was amazing, and the story telling made us laugh, wipe a tear, and remember. It was everything that a family reunion should be... it was all about the family.

Toward the end of our visit I was asked to call the conversations together under the big shade tree on the lawn. As has become our tradition at these events, a member of each branch of the family tree introduced the members of their family that was attending and shared, for a few minutes, things that were going on in their family's lives. When our Aunt Melba began to share - she is the last surviving child of our grandparents Frank and Sarah Jo McDaniel - everyone got quiet. It was clear that everyone wanted to hear what she had to say about people we either hadn't met or about memories that only she had experienced. And from there the question, answers,, and conversation became heartfelt and very real. It was as if the tribe had gathered with elders to hear stories of the journey that others had traveled before us. The stories helped us to remember and appreciate our past and to reflect on why we have the lives that we do.

And yes... I was able to digitally record a lot of what was shared. It went on for over an hour and I'm not yet sure of how best to edit and share, but I will figure that out and make it available to anyone in the family who would enjoy it.

Another nice surprise was brought to the reunion by my cousin Jeana Olson Schroeder. Jeana has been working on a hand drawn and labled family tree since we restarted our reunions two years ago. She did the research, routed early drafts to family members who could ensure that no one was missed, and then methodically and beautifully applied her artistic touch. Today, she presented our family with the finished version (it was current until the last year or two of births took place). I will post a copy on my Facebook Wall and will be distributing the file to members of the family who request one. Thanks so much Jeana!

Today is September 11th. A day when people are remembering loved ones and tragic losses due to the terrorist events of a decade ago. Of course it was an incredible loss. A day that caused our country to reunite around a common cause. It caused us to reflect, remember, remind one another of what was most important in our lives. It did for our nation what reunions can do for families.

For four to five hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon the descendants of Frank and Josie McDaniel did what families should do more of. We sat together, ate together, played together, and remembered together. For me it was our best reunion ever.

I'm proud to be a small part, a branch if you will, of this amazing family tree.

PS: Today was my dad's birthday. He would have been 97 today. I've been thinking of him all day. A tribute!