Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Love This Place

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Some of my fondest childhood memories and several of my most fun college moments share one location:  The Cabin.  My Grandpa Bud Barnes owns a cabin in Brighton, up Big Cottonwood Canyon (one of the prettiest places on the planet, btw).  The Cabin has been in the family for more than 70 years.  Grandpa built it with his dad in 1936.  He  added to it in 1976.  It’s rustic.  It’s beautiful.  It’s dripping with character.  It’s packed with memories.  It’s hosted holidays, family gatherings, reunions, scouting events, honeymoons, ski sleepovers and countless parties.  Grandpa has been incredibly generous with The Cabin, letting just about anyone he knew (and in some cases didn’t know) use it.  As a child I loved hiking to Dancing Rock and the Burned Down Cabin, singing along with the player piano, finding MMM (Mickey Mouse Mountain), riding the snowmobile, playing poker with my cousins, rocking in the hammock, swinging on the Tarzan rope, playing telephone in The Treehouse, watching squirrels nibble on bread crumbs and “spying” on other family members through cracks in the walls.  Those were happy good times.  If you knew me at all in college (or if you knew anyone who knew someone who knew someone who knew me), you’ve probably been to The Cabin for a party.  Multiple times.  Those were crazy good times.

The time has come to sell The Cabin.  This has been hard on the Barnes family since it is a place we all cherish.  I was emotional as I locked the door after what I knew might be my last time there.  All I could think was, “I love this place.”  Over and over again.  Yet, I know selling it is the right thing right now.

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The Treehouse

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The Bunkhouse

 

I tried to spend as much time as I could at The Cabin during my trip.  Allison organized a  Goodbye Cabin Party for the extended family.  It was great to see the Barnes.  There are wonderful people in this bunch.  We’ve grown into a really big group and most of us are scattered.  We had only about 1/3 of our family there, but I was happy to see those who could make it.

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DSC_03737 of Grandpa Bud’s 21 great grandchildren.

cabin cheerJulie and I were tasked with making the kids smile…

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My immediate family minus Ryan who was in Denver on a med school rotation. 

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DSC_0422   I debated posting this picture.  Ali, don’t hate me.  I really like it… except you just look a little special.

 

I had a second chance to reunite with Barnes cousins at Julie’s house a few weeks later.  We had yummy BBQ and again attempted a great grandchild picture.

DSC_1010  I’m learning Anderson HATES these.

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I am so grateful for my Grandpa Bud.  He is a good man who hasn’t had the easiest life.  My Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the year I was born (1980).  She was 57.  My mom was only 25.  Grandpa Bud cared for my Grandma as she slowly slipped away mentally, then physically over 23 years.  She died in November 2003 at the age of 80.  My Mom says there are worse things in life than death;  Alzheimer’s is one of them.   I tend to agree.  

When I was a little girl, I loved spending time with Grandpa Bud.   He was generous, friendly and always had a corny joke (we call them groaners) and M&Ms to share.  It seemed he knew everybody and everybody loved him.  Grandpa is different now.  His health and mind are failing him.  It’s hard to see it when we visit him.   One thing remains.  He always has a handful of M&Ms he’s trying to slip you.  I love my Grandpa Bud.  I respect him.  He has done wonderful things in his life and for his children and grandchildren.  He is a great man.  He has a very special place in my heart. 

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Monday, September 28, 2009

We Are Family

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I love my Dad’s side of the family. There are 44 of us. When we get together we play cards, we stay up late, we make up lawn games and at some point there is a ball game involving nearly everyone. The Weilers are athletic (most are very tall). The Weilers are supportive. The Weilers get along. I love noting the physical resemblance we share. I love marveling at the parallel personalities repeated in three generations. Weilers share the same sense of humor. It goes something like this. There is a joke (often the self-deprecating kind), a small but distinct pause, then a laugh, usually started by the person who told the joke. I don’t think I display this humor rhythm much outside my family, but when I’m with them, I immediately start it. I joke, pause, then laugh just like my aunts laugh. Then I hear my cousins doing it. I get around these people, and I understand myself better. We all make more sense. When we’re together, I feel like we’re in some great, feel-good family movie. We’ve talked about this.

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I believe most credit for our familial joy goes to these two. My grandparents are some of the best and youngest people I know. At 79, Grandma Jean plays tennis, hosts parties, golfs and travels the world. She rode an elephant through a river in China last summer. At 80, Grandma Queed decided to hike The Narrows by himself and came out unscathed. They planned our family reunion at Clear Creek Ranch just outside Zions National Park in August. And they were the life of the party. I want to be just like them when I grow up.

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Grandpa hitting the slide. Grandma poolside with Anderson.

Everyone else is pretty fun too. We’re entering a new stage where cousins are getting married, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the new additions to the family. The company was great. The food was great. The lodge was great. It was all great, great, great. GREAT way to kick off the Utah Staycation 2009. Here are truckloads of pictures highlighting some of said greatness:

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Best part=everyone stays under one big roof.

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Rachel, Megan, Emily, Rebecca & Caroline. I think my cousins are beautiful.

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DSC_0066 My aunt Jennie threw a baby shower for Cheryl. There was a game. Losers (like Lisa) had to eat baby food.

DSC_0092One morning we went canoeing. By morning, I mean it was early and I was still wearing my Theatrical Thursday pajamas. Anderson and the life jacket didn’t really get along.

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I include this picture only to make a point: WHY DIDN’T I GET MY SISTER’S SKIN? Would you believe these opposite colors come from the same gene pool? (Weiler is the white side. Lisa got the Barnes skin.)

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DSC_0231 Cousins… but they could be sisters and people tell them so all the time.

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Mike Weiler’s Kids: Tom, Cheryl, Ali, Wendy, Lisa

zion Most of the group hiked Angel’s Landing including (bottom up) Jason, Grant, Leslie, Rob, Michelle, Kevin, Megan, Harley & Jonathan

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First cousins once-removed: Anderson & Emily. The beginning of Anderson’s generation; the end of mine.

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The only family traditions we didn’t cover during this reunion were a talent show and a human pyramid. (Sometimes your talent is your pyramid.) Ah, next time.

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Non-silly group shot

I just noticed all Queed and Jean’s kids are seated. Did we do that on purpose? This makes it somewhat easy to ID families. The kids seated L to R: Colleen, Scott, Mike, Queed, Jean, Mark, Kirk, Chris. Their spouses and kids are more or less behind them.

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How the birds see us.

Thanks for a great reunion Grandma and Grandpa. I love being a Weiler!

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