Postcards from the farm.

Dear friends,

We just returned from Mr. Mom’s family reunion in Iowa. It was three days of wonderful in the middle of America’s heartland, chock full of tall tales and friendly competitions and fond remembrances and happy reunions and sleepy babies and farm-fresh food and even a few fireworks.

Of the 100+ folks in attendance, I had previously met fewer than a dozen. The old-timers say it was the biggest crowd ever for a family that’s been gathering for decades. Mr. Mom thinks it’s been about 35 years since he last returned to his grandparent’s farm for an extended visit with his aunts and uncles and cousins. I’m not sure why it took us so long to make our way to the family homestead, but I’m sure glad we showed up for “the big one.”

Mr. Mom’s family is descended from German and Scottish stock. His grandparents — Allan and Della — purchased their first farm for $35 an acre in 1935. Della birthed 13 children and all but one lived into adulthood. Mr. Mom’s mother, Rita, was number five. It is an understatement to say Allan and Della and their children worked hard on the farm. The large, beautiful and productive acreage that exists today and is being farmed by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren is testament enough, I think, to Allan and Della’s legacy of hard work and self-reliance.

I could spend a thousand words telling you all about everything I saw and heard on the farm but I couldn’t begin to do it justice. Instead, I’ll share a few of my favorite photographs.


These are Allan and Della’s descendants — about a hundred of them in this photo alone.

By the way, I took the photo after Mr. Mom’s cousin gave me a lift (about a 25-foot lift) on his front-end loader. I snapped the photo with one hand while holding on to the platform with the other. I’m dreadfully afraid of heights (and Mr. Mom’s family could tell by my body language and facial expression, I suspect) but I really wanted a great group photo. I think I got it!

lift _Snapseed

These guys weren’t afraid at all of riding on the lift. Bunch of show-offs!

beantoss _Snapseed

Games for adults included bean bag tossing and cow chip throwing.

watermelon _Snapseed

Watermelon was plentiful. Leftovers were not.

Apple bobbing attracted the little ones . . .


for both waterplay . . .


and dessert.


The agile among us tried their hand at volleyball.

For the record, I am not agile.


Which explains why there’s no photo of me swinging off the rope into the pond.

teeter _Snapseed

The teeter-totter would have have been more my speed but it was occupied almost all weekend.


As was the swing-set.

wheel _Snapseed

And the hand-cranked corn sheller.

horse _Snapseed

And the pony ride.


The farm equipment tour attracted young and old.


And reunion-goers of all ages sometimes required 40 winks or more given the pace of activity.


But there were smiles all around . . .


and plenty of hugs


and even a height adjustment for Mr. Mom’s vertically challenged Aunt Sue.


In the end, we came home tired and sleepy, but the best kind of both, the kind where you know happy memories will linger far longer than vacation fatigue.

With gratitude {for summer road trips and kids who’ll still tag along with their parents},

Joan, who’s always wondered how life would have been different if she had been born into a big family, but thinks marrying into one is a nice substitute



  1. What a fabulous way to celebrate summer. When I imagine family reunions, your photos are iconic for what I visualize that to be like. Hats off to whoever had the persistence and grit to organize such a large gathering, and thanks so much for sharing it all with us!

  2. Sally Brown says:

    Thank you Joan for the Blog. I saw pictures I wasn’t able to take and I appreciate that. I look forward to receiving the CD of pictures. What a good time was had by all and many new friends were made. Hope we don’t wait so long to see your family again. Sally

    • Betsie Brown says:

      That was a fun party. Love your pictures and can’t wait to see more. Cliff and Beth left today so it is quiet on the home front and getting time to do FB and pay bills–UGH!!

  3. I love the little boy asleep by the chicken leg and mashed potatoes. And the athletic beauty of the woman tossing the bean bag.

  4. Kevin Hughes says:

    Sorry I missed this reunion. I will try to make the next one for sure. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.


  1. […] I didn’t even notice the return address before I opened the envelope to find a Christmas card and a stack of very old papers and letters. I opened the card quickly to see that it was from Mr. Mom’s Aunt Ruth, a relative I met for the first time last summer at this family reunion. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: