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Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Far-Flung "All-Comer" Johnson Reunion

"Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water."  W. C. Fields

Johnson reunions are infrequent. We are a family far flung, with daunting logistics. This year we managed a gathering over Thanksgiving at MOAB's house in Golden. (MOAB: An acronym for Maia, Owen, Anita, and Brent). 

Logistics: Great Nephew, Young Dan, flew in from China; Great Niece, Megan, from Philadelphia; Nephew Darin and wife Tracey, from Toledo; Brother Dan and Sister-in-law Elaine, from Toledo by car, Son Caleb and Daughter-in-law Kelli, from Osage Beach, Missouri by car; and Yours Truly from our Virgin, Utah boondock, to Lovely Ouray, to Osage Beach, Missouri, and finally, to Golden, Colorado. Whew! It would be so much easier if we all just lived down the street from each other. 

Our last Thanksgiving Gathering was in 2013 at Darin and Tracey’s house in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (they’ve since transplanted to Toledo). 

What happens when you have Champagne before Breakfast!
The highlight of that reunion—beyond face-to-face family time, good food, and quality adult beverage—was a 20 hour marathon trip to New York City. This required a 5 AM alarm, a two-car convoy to Staten Island, New Jersey, and a convoluted/countless number of Interstate/toll road exchanges such that even Siri was at a loss. 

From Jersey we caught a ferry to Lower Manhattan in New York City, then set off on a bewildering series of subway connections that, most of the time, popped us somewhere in the vicinity of Nephew Darin's long list of must-see "attractions." We must have walked 15 miles that day, arriving back home in the wee hours of morning. Though foreign and arduous, I found it a worthy urban adventure...not all that unlike our hikes out west—you know, lost, confused, exhausted—surrounded by skyscrapers instead of mountains.  

This year the Thanksgiving Weather gods smiled on Golden. We played and dined outdoors in summer attire, free from the burden of layers of clothes.  

It all went down a little something like this:

Young Dan let's it fly at one of two Frisbee sessions...

Then Owen is mesmerized by a "Perfect Bloody Mary" lesson...

Elder Dan works the puzzle while I randomly sample the booze...
Daylight gives way to darkness, and I drop out for a snooze...
Tables are set with linens and utensils...
While Bobbie prepares pies, a Thanksgiving essential...

Pecan and Pumpkin, what more could one ask...

Perhaps an aspirin, and more help with a puzzling task...
A hike is in order, something difficult and steep...
To work off the fat from all of the sweets...

How about this route,  let's give it a try...

Bobbie says "NO, I'm not yet ready to die..."

We follow blindly like sheep to the slaughter...

Kelli's first on top and Caleb's the spotter...

This is our reward for breaking a sweat...
While others sipped coffee and nursed "Bloody Mary" regrets...

Breakfast brunches made to order...
Quickly devoured! We are not hoarders...

Caleb and Kelli, looking so sweet...
While chef Brent and Dan handle the meat...
We gather round the fire as the sun finally drops...
Till we're all called to Dinner, and Patriarch Dan offers a little "food for thought"

It's elbow to elbow as we rush the buffet...

A battle for food on Thanksgiving Day

From our family to yours: We wish you good fellowship and good food, and in the spirit of the holidays, a little joy mixed with gratitude.

Peace Out, 

Mark and Bobbie 
Celebrating the holidays in Lovely Ouray, where snow is falling (finally). I sense a tug from "The Road," to old friends and new haunts in Southern Arid-zona...or maybe it's the other way around :)


  1. Your memoirs of family are the best! not even a classic movie could rival this post :)

  2. As you ponder your travels down here to AZ, remember that Bloggerfest is January 27 at the shelter house at La Posa South, 1-ish to whenever. I would love to see you two again.

  3. That is one heck of a gathering!

    Wishing you and Bobbie a wonderful holiday season and a year of grand adventures ahead!

  4. What a wonderful reunion! Happy Holidays from San Rafael, CA!

  5. Happy Holidays from Oregon, too. I will love seeing your snow photos from my new to me no snow home, or at least that seems to be the case in the next few days. Love the family posts a lot, both current ones and old ones. They don't intimidate me quite as much as the 14rs and slickrock bike trails.

  6. Please "E" me a slice of Bobbie's punkin pie....I have ice cream...
    Happy Holidays!

  7. Merry Christmas and happy trails with no blood in the New Year!!!

  8. Yours is certainly a far flung family but what a great get together. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  9. Looks like fun family times, which makes good memories!! Merry Christmas!!

  10. Nice job Mark, I am sure the family members appreciate you recording it all for posterity, it's not an easy task for sure.
    Glad to see Little Switzerland looking like here namesake once again, hope it continues.
    Was surprised to see the three photos of our California Redwoods displayed prominently on the walls of the relatives in Golden, CO,
    From Redwood Country, Have a Wonderful Holiday

  11. Merry Christmas to you, your family and BCB followers!

  12. Gorgeous header photo! You must really be in the Christmas spirit now. Happy holidays and hope to see you this winter in a warmer place!

  13. Pumpkin AND pecan!!! It doesn't get any better. Happy Holidays!!!

  14. Thanks Mark for the great blog and Holiday poem! We loved having the crowd! Hope we can do it again soon. MOAB


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