Monday, August 22, 2011

A Gathering Of The Clan

Reunions, especially family reunions can be joyous or dreadful, depending on the perspective of the participant.  My family reunion is clearly a joyous occasion.  For the last 20 some years, the Amick/Strochine clan has held their annual family reunion at the Roger Pochup farm near Colome, South Dakota.  Biologically, I am the son of an Amick.  However I was adopted at the age of 3 by Marvin Sathe, who married my mother in 1947.  I did not meet my biological family until 1993 when my father, Ivan Amick, reached out to contact me.  In 1994, I was invited to the Amick/Strochine reunion where I met a large number siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews for the first time.  That was an exciting and rewarding experience and I have returned every year since on the 3rd full weekend in August.  Sadly, my father died suddenly two days after that 1994 reunion, limiting the time I got to know him to a meager 14 months.  Through the stories told at the reunion and long conversations with dad’s sister, Rita Strochine, I have learned a lot about him and the life he lived before we met in June 1993.

This years attendance was light, primarily due to school years starting earlier and earlier.  Many families with school age children cannot attend because of the timing.  There were about 40 or 50 blood relatives plus their spouses and additional members of the local community are invited to participate in the Saturday night feast of a pork main course with a variety of yummy accompaniments.  There are hay rides on a flat bed trailer pulled by a farm tractor across the fields with at least one stop at the rock on Hoop Snake Hill, where Roger Pochup tells the tale of the Hoop Snake and how the snakes affected the lives of the settlers in the early days.  There is always a “posse” of young horseback riders trailing along.  There is a silent auction, and fireworks, and karaoke, and lots to talk and lots of eating.  I always weigh more on the Sunday departure day than I did on the Thursday arrival day. 
Here are some pictures from the event:
IMG_4310  IMG_4318 
IMG_4344  IMG_4346
 IMG_4351 IMG_4357
This year some of us made a trip into Nebraska to visit an old cemetery where I have several relatives lying at rest.  The cemetery is located about a mile off the nearest paved road and is used infrequently these days.  Among aunts and uncles and cousins that are buried here, my great grandparents ( my father’s mother’s mom and dad) are here.  Here is a picture with me standing between their headstones.
After the reunion, we hitched up the camper and drove east to my home town of Yankton, South Dakota.  We are set up in Chief White Crane Campground, a South Dakota State Park.  We always take a day or two to adjust to the increased humidity.   For some meteorological reason that I do not understand, the humidity goes up dramatically as soon as you cross the Missouri River.  Anyway, we are here and comfortable with 50 amp electricity to run the AC and everything else we need.  Tonight, Rosie and I are hosting a gathering of the Sathe Clan, two of my Sathe brothers and my sister and a nephew will join us at the campground for grilled burgers and fixings.   After that we are headed for Colorado to visit more of the Sathe clan and our old neighborhood in Shawnee, Colorado.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jim, Thanks a lot. Damn I missed you guys.