Adventure #8 … Arkansas (May 14-17)

Our sweet Emma is celebrating her high school graduation this weekend and Dan and I are in Northwest Arkansas to cheer her on. Matt and Murphy and their cousins from my side have gotten together each summer for quite awhile now and this year they chose to work their reunion around Emma’s accomplishment just like they did for Levi two years ago. Emma, for those of you out of the cousin loop, is my sister Cyd’s second grandchild, her son Ben’s daughter, and Levi’s sister. Got it?

Dan and I got in Thurday night along with Matt and Emily and Dan’s sister and brother-in-law, Deb and Tom, honorary aunt and uncle of the highest order to my Arkansas nieces and nephews. Murphy arrived Friday morning without his sweet sidekick, Josie, who is with her family celebrating her brother’s new PhD.

Friday was pure fun. Dan and I spent most of the morning visiting and laughing with Mother, Deb, Tom, and Cyd. Mother, now 92, told a couple of funny jokes. We all cracked up when she said, “Have you heard the one about Hitler?” She actually did have a Hitler joke. We all headed to JR [Cyd’s son/Ben’s twin] and Heather’s around noon where we spent a fun afternoon just hanging out, playing knockout [a basketball elimination game], visiting, and eating. JR and Heather’s daughter Lexi, an eighth grader next year, attended her first boy-girl school dance and we all took her picture and saw her off. It was such an enjoyable day with this roudy, fun, up for anything group. I might toss in that I won ONE round of knockout out of the zillions of rounds we played. Matt ruled.

Saturday, graduation day, turned out perfect. Graduation was at two in the afternoon on the athletic field at the high school. Our group of about 35 cheered for Emma and took loads of videos and pictures. Rain was predicted but a brisk breeze sent the clouds the other way and the ceremony went on as planned. Ben and his wife Terrie organized a fun family party at the church that Emma attends. How cool that she had two great grandmas there, two grandmas, and one grandpa! Terrie’s side of the family decorated the huge party room so cute and had everything set up when we arrived. A highlight was the video of Emma’s life that showed her and all of us through the last 18 years. We laughed, oohed, and awed from beginning to end. There might have been a tear or two. Hoot of the day went to the wall-of-frames. Ben and his nicer than nice father-in-law, Lynn, had built a portable wall with four empty/cut out frames that we stuck our heads through for goofy portraits. Things got silly right away and we laughed and egged each other on shamelessly. There was a jar for us to share our words of wisdom. Emma got very sweet bits of advice, serious life strategies, and then the always useful ‘floss everyday’ along with ‘wear flip flops in the dorm shower.’ Cyd, Dan, and I took Mother home around 10:00 when all the cousins headed back to Ben and Terrie’s to party on.

Today, Sunday, is wind down day with people going all different directions. Having to get back to the business of making a living, Dan flew this morning; Matt and Emily will follow early this afternoon.

Emma, who turns 18 today, and one of her besties, Mikhalea, will head to Memphis with (Auntie) Deb and (Uncle) Tom right after church this morning. They will drop Tom off at home, stay the night, and then head to the beach for a week with Deb and a good friend of hers. This is all in the tradition of Deb’s Camp, now in its fourth year, which Deb and Tom have relished just as much as Emma and Mikhalea. Is there any question why Deb and Tom have the status of honorary aunt and uncle of the highest order?

Murphy and I are not that easy to get rid of. Murf leaves tomorrow afternoon, so we can all play with him for another day and a half, and these Arkansans are stuck with me until Wednesday. I’m staying on to celebrate Cyd’s 68th on Tuesday and to spend a little extra time with Mother. Hopefully she has not run out of jokes.


2 thoughts on “Adventure #8 … Arkansas (May 14-17)

  1. Great sumnary, in Dallas, got delayed, love you

    Sent on a Sprint Samsung Galaxy S® 5


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