When I attended my first Sowby Family Reunion in 1998 in Newport Beach, CA, I didn't know anything about the reunions. As such, I spent a lot of time by myself (I was 6 months pregnant) and didn't make any deliberate efforts to interact or get to know the other attendees that had gathered from California, Arizona and Utah.
From that "non-interactive" reunion, it seems ironic that the next one held, two years later in Utah was organized greatly in part by no other than... ME!
As the Sowby Reunion rotations go, the next one in 2002 in Greer, AZ finally made me realize these reunions really are a big deal, and I was suddenly "on board" and in love with the majority of the extended Sowby Family.
I wrote about my 2012 contributions to the UT Sowby Reunion here, and have plenty recorded in a scrapbook and journal about the 2006 reunion I organized. It is hard to put into words why exactly I feel such a kinship to these reunions. Perhaps it is because of the effort that has been put into having them happen every two years since 1979. Perhaps it is the efforts that so many individuals and families make to use their vacation time and money to travel to (perhaps for some less than ideal) locations out of state to spend time with loved ones. Perhaps it is the great stories, the good memories and the lasting relationships that come from time spent with descendants of two people who they have never met. More than perhaps, I know it is also likely because of a couple of personal experiences I have had with these two people with whom I have never met, and with whom I share no flesh and blood. Annie Martine and George Isaac Sowby on their wedding day, June 25, 1904.
A hundred and ten years later, from their love has come this:
(a small sampling of the reunion attendees--I'm trying to get my hands on the large group photo that was taken.)
Onto, our recent expedition to Flagstaff, AZ last weekend. Oh what fun! Love, love, LOVE these extended Sowby families that make sacrifices to attend a reunion far from home. What a weekend! Loved every moment of it.
Love, love, love Cousin Jennifer. She did a terrific job planning this reunion. Having planned a few reunions of this scale myself, I can't imagine sustaining a head injury during the reunion set-up. Hooray for her having a sister who is a registered nurse, a husband who is an EMT, and a tube of Super-Glue.
I am doing my best to instill a love and the importance of family reunions to my children, as I know other family members are too. I am hopeful that one day, Hannah and Ellie will be at family reunions decades from now, just as these cousins are.
(Cousins Karen, Susan and Bonnie and Cousins Ellie and Hannah)
Oh my! I have so many photos, so many memories, and so little space and time. But, I'm quite certain, that as my little family spent time with so many extended cousins last weekend, we each captured memories and moments in our minds and hearts. And those are the ones that matter most.