I used to hear about “world’s biggest ball of yarn” or “come see our big gopher statue” Road side attractions and think the whole idea was ridiculous. This month I have been forced to reconsider that position. Between an evil Barney the Dinosaur riding toy in Buffalo, Wyoming and now a cracked egg statue in Pueblo, Colorado there is some crazy stuff to see in this world and I want to see it all.
We are in Pueblo for a family gathering. All the offspring of my Grandmother and those of my Grandfather (it’s a step-grandpa situation -and he’s pretty awesome at it- not some sort of 1970s basketball player situation) have gathered in southern Colorado to make tasteless jokes and clog up traffic on I-25.
There are faces new and old. Some folks I have not seen since I was a pre-teen. Now I’m a thirty year old father with acne and pink eye. So a bigger version of my ten year old self?
It’s fun to see how the cousins have grown. Most of us are trailing little hordes of children about now and are quite busy with lives of our own. But in the buzz and chatter of family, worries of Monday are far from our minds.
We convened first at the Pueblo Zoo. Quaint best describes the place.
There is a miniature Pioneer Town that provides a petting zoo like area for the wee ones. Goats, hares, llamas and alpacas all walk about and make noises toward passers by. I did not see either of my children for most of this part of the day. The baby is evryone’s friend and the firstborn had his Uncle available. I matter so little when my brother is present. In the best of ways of course.
The zoo highlight was a family photo that became a “living family tree”. Grandma and Grandpa took center stage in the back of “limbs” made up of their children. One row was the matriarch and patriarch of the clans, followed by their kids, followed by their kids (my brother and I at this tier), followed by the great grand kids up front. A very neat experience in crowd control if nothing else.
Following the zoo escapades, the party moved to a hotel. The hope upon arrival was the boys would sleep and my wife and I could sneak in some time with other adults. The firstborn eventually rested, following learning some colorful new language from my frustration of having two overly tired boys in a small space. He went to his pillow saying fudge fudge fudge…but I didn’t say fudge. We talked about how sometimes good ol’ Dad uses words that should not be said, and we agreed to not say those words anymore.
So to catch up, I’m quitting coffee, potato chips, soda and now my favorite words. 2015 has been a fudging roller coaster.
The baby opted against sleeping. He had made new friends and there was a party to attend. Sleep is for the weak, he said with his purple, heavy eyes. He later got an hour in, but those two hours between running at all costs(!) and sleep were very tiring. For my mom.
The joy of a family reunion is the plentiful helping hands. Family to assist, encourage and laugh with. We don’t see each other often, but by golly is this a group of people I am happy to be a part of.