One could not have asked for a better day for a family reunion at Clear Bottom Lake, just off of 10-Mile road west of Rockford. Susan's cousins Jennifer, Laurie and Ruth had quietly gone about making all the arrangements, apparently even getting the weather to cooperate, and all the rest of us had to do was show up, sit chat and swap tales.
Clear Bottom Lake is precisely that: a lake where you can see right to the bottom. It's quiet, peaceful and a great place for an afternoon stroll on the old road that goes around the lake itself.
|looking across the lake to. . .|
|a place from where you could hear the laughter breaking the stillness of the afternoon|
It's also a wonderful place to sit outside on the large porch catching up with family members from around the country: cousins Betsey and her family came from Pennsylvania, Sharon from California, Brenda from Chicago, Aunt Helen from Florida, Susan and I from somewhere in lower New England. Amazing, the ties that bind, a well-worn phrase but one with a ring of truth in this family.
It was a day of smiles all round, a phenomenon that always never fails to amaze and enlighten me, mixed in with sandwiches, salads, and a couple of tasty treats from the French Tarte. But it's the fellowship that seems to be the standard fare at these Van Halsema shindigs.
|l-r: cousins Nancy, Betsey, Betsey's daughter (need the name please) and Donna|
|Berenice, or once upon a time there was an exchange student from France who found more in Michigan than she bargained for . .|
|. . . like Joe, son of Laurie and Garrett - and vice versa, of course|
|l-r: Clark, Scott and Mark|
|Betsey and Aunt Fran|
|Susie, aka the French Tarte|
|Jim, compliments of Betsey|
|Garrett, the new dog and Aunt Thea|
|the fabulous Van Halsema sisters (l-r): Betsey, Bernice, Helen and Marian|
A big thanks to the Ten Haves for hosting, and especially to Jen, Laurie and Ruth for letting us all off the hook for helping with cleanup. You won't be rid of us so easily the next time. . .