Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Reunions

Father's Day has been officially celebrated on the third Sunday of June since after the first one was held in 1908. That first one was either in West Virginia or Washington or maybe both. That same year was the first Mother's Day.

As far back as I can remember we went to a family reunion on my Dad's side. It was always held at Redbud Park in Marlow, Oklahoma.

Marlow is where our family settled, more or less, when they arrived in Oklahoma in the 1890's or so. There were several families and they all had farms of 160 acres or so in the vicinity of this little one room school house. I'm not very clear why they chose Marlow. Several of the family are buried there in the Marlow Cemetery, too.

You may know something about Marlow although you probably are not aware of it. There was a 1965 movie starring John Wayne and Dean Martin called The Sons of Katie Elder that's based on the 5 Marlow brothers after whom the town of Marlow is named.

Redbud Park is on the banks of Wild Horse Creek in Marlow. I've always thought it was a very pretty little park and the creek is pretty deep, too. The creek was a good place for young cousins to swing out over and on occasion fall into.

There was a nice swimming pool there and when I was little I really looked forward to using it, too. It was much better than our old stock tank. There was this little train that made a trip around the park every so often. There were swings and other playground toys.

We, or rather someone of our family, reserved the shelter. And that's where we all began to gather about 11 or so. Some had been there much earlier of course and several had come in from far away and spent the night with other relatives.

There were quite a few of us young ones. Mostly I couldn't remember their names from one year to the next but we'd usually reacquaint soon after some initial discomfort. I definitely had favorites. One such favorite was a female 2nd cousin a couple of years my senior. I had a major crush on her when I was a teenager. I took every opportunity to sit with her and walk around with her.

Actually I loved her entire family and held them in such respect. Those sentiments were also shared by my family as well. My dad loved to tell about her mother, who was his first cousin, sharing a seat with him in the one room school. That was quite embarrassing for a first or second grader I guess. Dad said she was always looking after him as a child and she continued the tradition at the family reunions by insisting on fixing him a plate of food and sitting right beside him. Dad and Mom were very close to this family always.

During the polio scare years the pool closed at the park. Later on when I was older I just didn't want to mess with changing clothes and so on.

When we younger cousins got old enough we all pretty much stopped attending the reunions. But the older cousins kept the tradition alive. I took Mom and Dad to a few of them myself even before I came to live with them. After mom was sick though we never went to another reunion.

There were always a few "visitors" to our family reunions. Dad would always say that the family claimed these folks as part of us and I guess they must have felt the same way.

As the years passed so did the older ones. And a time or two some of the younger ones died, too. The attendance dropped nearly every year I guess. People became older. Eventually it was Dad's generation's time to be the old folks.

I think there are still some of our folks who gather for Father's Day but only those who live nearby and they moved it from Marlow to Duncan. So it isn't the same at all.

When we buried dad nearly all my first cousins attended. We thought we might hold a reunion for our group. My brother and I talked about it the other day. Maybe we will this summer.

9 comments:

dino martin peters said...

hey pallie, like thanks for sharin' the Dinoref to your family...never knew that that Dinoflick was based on true characters...never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth...

flintysooner said...

Thanks for commenting dino.

steflovesnonna said...

Happy Fathers Day!!!! *hugs* I am sorry I am not around much anymore. But I do think of you and I really hope you are well. *huggs*

nancy said...

happy father's day terry. just wanted to let you know i think of you often. take care. love you.

flintysooner said...

Hi Stef - I'm not around as much either but I still try to keep up with your blog. Thought about you yesterday, too.

Hi Nancy - thanks for dropping by - I think about you, too, especially as I try to figure out what my job is.

~Betsy said...

Happy Father's Day, Terry. What wonderful memories you have of your childhood! Thanks for sharing.

flintysooner said...

Thanks Betsy.

Hey did you see that we had another author comment on my Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers post?

Her name is Rena and she wrote "Riding Blind."

steflovesnonna said...

AWW YAY!!!!!!!! Lion King!! :) I am so glad you thought of me.

Now I am thinking of you! hehe

rilera said...

Hope you had a great Father's Day Terry!