Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wedding #1 - Grand Junction, CO

McKenzie's pun is that she caught "the last Straw."
The timing of this year's vacation was determined by a couple family weddings. My only uncle, Sherm Straw, has but one son, and he was sealed in the Washington DC temple last month. That's the same temple where my parents were married. So we left Stephenville just as soon as I was done with my work for the semester and drove up to Grand Junction, CO to attend Brandon and McKenzie's reception.

The Journey
On the way, we stopped at a Days Inn in Colorado City. I gotta say, while the hallways are a bit more distinct than other cheap hotels, the room was about as small as the one we had in Washington DC. Now I understand why you have to have a small room in DC - too many people in too little space and government regulations prohibiting more growth. There's no excuse for the kind of squeeze we had in middle-of-nowhere Colorado. We had to play an extreme version of Tetris to get a crib in the room for JT. :( Our Super 8 in Grand Junction didn't look as nice, but was much more comfortable. On the other hand, the Days Inn breakfast buffet was decent (no eggs and a weak variety of other things, but a good waffle maker and the manager made the kids hot chocolate) while Super 8's was pitiful (old fruit, slightly old white bread, and factory-made cinnamon rolls).

We hit a big snowstorm somewhere in the high Rockies. For the adults, it brought back many memories of having car accidents in upstate NY blizzards or breaking arms on Germany's black ice. We haven't seen snow for three years, and we could happily go another three hundred without any. For the children, it was excitement and rapture beyond compare! They hadn't seen snow in three years - for JT that's forever - and nothing could be finer! If only we lived somewhere they could see snow and build snowmen and have snow fun!

The Family
We drove into Grand Junction and made it to the reception just as it was starting! After changing, we got to mingle with family I hadn't seen in 15, which means no one else in the family had even met the Straws. (Last time I saw them, Dad and I were driving through on our way to drop me off at Cornell.) We hung out for a while and re-introduced ourselves. Once the kids got crazy, I broke out the electronics and peace was restored to the function. We had a lovely, long conversation with Aunt Betsy. The next morning we joined them for a breakfast brunch and then after church had lunch and some cake and ice cream because it was also Meg's birthday.

 Joy says, "I feel really blessed that we got to know Sherm's family. I felt a special connection with Betsy and Meg. We really felt welcomed by the whole family. We wish Brandon and McKenzie all the joy." Superstar has told us he really wants to go back and see them again. He adds: "At the Straws, there was a cake we ate that had a picture of an American flag on it.We got to have moose tracks ice cream with it."

As far as most of the kids were concerned, there were two other big highlights. The first was that there were 12 or maybe 13 dogs in the house! Big dogs, small dogs, and all of them active. All the adult Straw kids have at least one and they brought all their dogs with them for the weekend! The Watson kids even climbed in one of the dog pens and pretended to be dogs.

The bigger highlight though was riding a gentle horse around the lawn. As far the horse was concerned, this was a chance to eat some grass .

We enjoyed church at a YSA (single, mostly college students) ward in the area. They don't usually get kids there, so they pegged us as visitors Right Away. After church, we had driven a few blocks when I realized the trunk was wide open! Thankfully, everything was packed in tightly enough that nothing had fallen out, but that was a near escape. That evening we pulled in to Lehi, UT, but that's for another post.

Princess: "Look, Mom and Dad! It's even bigger than Maui's fishhook!"

Joy and I enjoyed a porch swing nap outside.