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Friday, July 20, 2018

Rediscovering Joy by Warren Bull

Rediscovering Joy

Image from my photo

This past weekend I attended a family reunion of thirty-three family members ranging in age from 16 months to 95 years who gathered at Cannon Beach in Oregon. We came from Maine, Minnesota, Georgia. Texas, Iowa and Oregon.  Like every family, we had losses to mourn but we had lives to celebrate too. We marveled at Haystack Rock, remnant of an ancient lava flow. We saw a bald eagle snatch a tern off the rock and fly away chased by two hawks. Puffins flew flapping their wings like wind-up toys. A pair of Oyster Catchers with bright orange beaks — they don’t actually catch oysters by the way — chased away an intruder to protect their nest. A sea anemone closed its tentacles around its lunch. Tiny crabs scurried over the sand. But I will remember other wonders of the time together like:

Waking up to the sound of the ocean

Making a child laugh

Falling in love again with my wife

Tasting perfectly prepared halibut 

Hearing a mother’s chuckle in her daughter’s voice

Watching exceptional parenting

The smell of coffee in the morning

Feeling simple and pure delight for another person’s achievement

Laughing at myself 

Starting a conversation with a family member I had not seen for years at the spot where the two of us left off years ago

Smelling bread right out of the oven which reminded me of a summer day many years ago that I spent with my grandparents in Iowa

Effortlessly hitting the exact note I’d been striving for in my singing for weeks

Seeing the sunset paint the clouds and the ocean

The genuinely surprised expression on peoples’ faces when they found out my age

The friendliness of puppies

Splashing through warm salt water

Watching someone display true expertise

Selfless acts of kindness, both witnessing and doing

And realizing, after landing squarely on my face in the sand during the futile pursuit of a volleyball, that although the experience was not exactly pleasant, sand was ever so much more forgiving than a gymnasium floor. 


Unknown said...

Thanks for the information.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


What an uplifting experience! Thanks for sharing. I guess Thomas Wolfe was wrong--you can go home again.

KM Rockwood said...

I'm planning to attend a family reunion next month, and this makes me all the more eager to do so.

Anonymous said...

awww, I love your writing.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

What a great experience! We'll have our family together for Thanksgiving.

Kait said...

What a lovely weekend! Thank you for sharing.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, what a special time that was. I was at a family reunion last week, for my father's side of the family, but it only took place in a mall food court, and not everyone came, but I still enjoyed it. Most of my living cousins and one uncle and his wife are on my father's side of the family. Actually, although this one cousin always has these times to get together, every two years one cousin and several others plan a much larger Hovanic family reunion. That will be next year. It's in my one cousin's home on a river and some of those who come take a boat trip down a river until they come to a lake.

Until last year when I had pneumonia and it took several months to recover, I had family reunions at my house for my mom's side of the house where everyone brought something to eat. Everyone enjoyed themselves. However, I probably won't have one this year because my Uncle Bill, her youngest brother, died a few weeks ago. And most of my cousins have passed on now, too.
as well as all my aunts and uncles on my mom's side of the family. I have five cousins on that side of the family still living, but two of them I don't know well at all. Uncle Bill moved away when he got older, but he always came to the reunions as did his oldest son and his wife.

On neither side of the family have we ever had a reunion on the ocean and not even on the coast of Lake Erie which is not that far away. Family picnics? Yes, every summer when I was growing up, but not reunions.

Anonymous said...

this is so lovely I want it to go viral. I was very touched. Came back to say awwwww again