Friday, July 17, 2009

Shepard Family Update, July 17, 2009

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from the (not quite 5 star) Newcastle Hotel in Newcastle, Oklahoma where Cindy and I find ourselves on this day before our Family Reunion! Everything is just about ready for our celebration. We anticipate a wonderful time with family and friends, including some Davis relatives who will be joining us.

Many of you are not able to be with us because of distance or health or other commitments. Please know that we will be thinking of you and hope you will be able to attend future reunions.

A lot of work has gone into the planning and preparing for this event, especially by those who are traveling quite a distance. Special thanks go to Kim Clark, and our local host Dane Shepard. The graphic at the bottom is just one of the many things Dane created in getting ready for our gathering tomorrow.

The first picture I am including today shows two of the people who will be with us at the reunion tomorrow, both children of Will and Bura: Elmer Shepard of Oklahoma and his sister Thelma Shepard Boyd of Gallup, New Mexico. This picture was taken in the early 1950s in San Diego. Elmer has the honor of being the senior member of our Shepard family.

I set out to find an appropriate quote for this week of our family reunion, and had a very difficult time. I'd like to share with you some of what I found. First, a few quotes I rejected.
"When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them." (George Bernard Shaw)

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." (Robert Frost)

"Every one sees in their relatives, and especially in their cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of themselves." (Henry Louis Mencken)

"Family is just accident. They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are. (Marsha Norman)

"A friend who is near and dear may in time become as useless as a relative." (George Ade)
Ouch! I would never use these quotes when thinking about our family! They are just too negative, if you ask me. "Grotesque caricatures"? "Useless as a relative"? Family "getting on your nerves"? These are all quotes from people who should know better. What were they thinking?

The following are a few more quotes that I also rejected. They do not reveal quite the depth of cynicism and cheap humor as the foregoing, but they still don't make the grade, as far as I am concerned.
"If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion." (Ashleigh Brilliant)

"I wish I could relate to the people I am related to." (Jeff Foxworthy)

"Remember, as far as anyone knows, we're a nice, normal family." (Homer Simpson)

"Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us." (Van Wyck Brooks)

"Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some just have a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking." (Author Unknown)
See what I mean? I guess I'm going to have to keep looking, because it is hard to come up with the right quote when thinking about our family and our reunion. On the other hand... maybe I am missing something here. Do you suppose these quotes DO provide some valuable insight into what it means for us to be family?

Whether or not you'll be at the reunion tomorrow, celebrate our family with a sense of humor. It's the only way to go.

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