we spent last week at yosemite for a ewing family reunion. this was a reunion of dick's cousins and their families... since dick was the only surviving child in his family, larry and his brothers (and now the girls) are the only descendants of their grandfather ewing. and now that dick is gone, the link that that portion of the family is broken in a way. i never really thought of it this way until the trip, but this is a quarter of the heritage of my daughters. i know my side fairly well, my mother and my father's families, and we spend a lot of time around larry's mother's family... so i very much appreciated the opportunity to connect with the ewings.
one interesting point is that this branch of my daughter's family goes back the farthest in north america. all of my ancestors came across from europe much more recently -- during my great-grandparents generation early in the 1900s. rita's family similar, i believe. the ewing side goes back to at least 1761... backwards from texas to missouri to kentucky to virginia and so on. that's a bit of a shift in perspective, which really made me rethink my place in american history.
i really enjoyed meeting the extended family. there were about 19 or so ewing first cousins, and they were fairly spread out across the country. i'm not even sure dick had met all of them, and i know larry hadn't, so it could easily have felt like a room full of strangers (about 50 people were in attendance). but what struck me was that it quickly felt more like family -- and it was a really interesting, diverse group of people, the kind of people you want to get to know. by the end of the week, second cousins were playing a game of spoons so raucously in the kitchen it was even louder than the accumulated noise of the many conversations taking place in the rest of the hall as everyone chatted away.
as for the traveling itself, we had a great time exploring yosemite. it felt great to get out and hike (somewhere where it's not 105 degrees), and i always love being in the mountains -- i think that's my reaction to growing up in the flattest part of the entire country. sarah and eva continue in their sibling-like relationship, adoring each other and wanting to spend lots of time together, but eventually antagonizing each other a bit and needing space (i think that's also just part of being three years old). hazel did great on her first plane trip, and other than the fact that she cried in the car up and down the mountain roads, it was a breeze having her along. of course, having gram on the trip for hazel-holding or eva-entertaining certainly helped (a ton! um, can you just fly everywhere we go?) eva is now requesting that we go on "big long hikes" here in austin, with larry carrying her in the kelty pack. hmm, as soon as the temp dials down a bit, we can give that a go.
a great trip, and i'm really glad we went. many thanks to rita for making that happen...