Vacation: Dad’s Family Reunion

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As far back as my memory serves me, the Levesque family has gathered at a cabin near Buck Lake, NY for the yearly family reunion.  The first Saturday in August has always been reserved for almost a hundred Levesques to gather, catch up on the year’s news, marvel at the growth of the children, and have a great time.  And always having somewhat of a shutterbug in me, I’ve always enjoyed tracing the passage of time in the stack of photo albums that contain photos from each of the past reunions.

My dad’s brother, Uncle Tom, has a cabin near Buck Lake aptly named “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  As I child, I remember being excited about the many activities (wading in the pond, canoeing on the pond, badminton, basketball, teeter-tottering, playing in the hammock, etc.) and as a teenager we all thought, “Geez, I could be at home with my friends right now!!!”  And now, as an adult, I enjoy seeing how my cousins have grown and have started families of their own and particularly enjoy watching their children have a great time with their own cousins.   Above are some nieces and nephews and other little ones playing badminton.

One of the most lively events at the Family Reunion is the auction.  Proceeds from the auction help fund the next year’s reunion and it’s pretty much understood that there’s a good chance that you may not end up with something you actually want, especially since the objects auctioned off are wrapped.  The bidding can be fierce and it’s always fun to see if someone ended up with something useful that they like or something that’s junk.  And there’s one gag gift that someone gets tricked into buying every year- a slice of a tree stump.  Above you can see the racy romance novels that Jonathan accidentally purchased for me!

Speaking of Jonathan, here he is playing tetherball with a cousin . . . or the boyfriend of a cousin.  Or something like that.  It’s tough to keep everyone straight when there are almost 100 of you there!

As you can see from the photos above, Dad has a lot of siblings.  And each of those siblings has quite a few progeny of their own, though not as many as Dad does!

The Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest is always a highlight.  Split into two divisions, children and adults, everyone takes their best shot with their own special technique.  This year Jonathan was selected as the judge.

Above is a great example of how editing can really save a photo.  Now, the subject is great- she’s absolutely adorable and has big, blue eyes.  But she was facing away from the sun, casting a shadow on her face.  I edited the photo as much as I could by lightening the shadows, but I was still not content with how her sparkling blue eyes didn’t come through.  It was the perfect photograph to test out a pin that I had pinned to my Photography board a while ago.  The site offers a selection of 5 options to sharpen and make eyes “pop” in Photoshop Elements.  I randomly chose the technique outlined by Pioneer Woman and was very pleased with the results.  I don’t do a lot of portrait photography, but this is definitely a method I’ll be using in the future.

My favorite event has always been the egg toss- nothing raises the stakes in a game of catch like using a raw egg!  At Mom’s Family Reunion (the Saturday before Dad’s), we use water balloons, but Dad’s family knows how to up the ante.  Having won the event several years with my mom and Bruce as partners, I was eager to win with Jonathan . . . but alas, when I caught the egg early on, it jammed on my pinky and it broke.  My brother, Lee, caught a great, if blurry, photo of the raw egg yolk beginning its explosion onto my shirt below.

Above are the winning catch and the victors of the Egg Toss Contest.  They were quite far apart and the catch was impressive!  The boy with the freckles and the curls is my brother Lee’s son.

And rounding out the photos of the day are some great ones of Jonathan and I, me and my “little” brother CJ, and Jonathan and I with my parents.  Dad bid on and won the auction for the ridiculous hat that he’s wearing and the last photo is of his wink after I grabbed it off of his head!

Looking forward to next year!

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