(My apologies in advance for the smudgy pictures. Note to self: clean the lens BEFORE vacation, rather than realizing afterwards that EVERY STINKIN’ PICTURE has a smudge in the center! Lesson learned.)
- The Reunion
- The Hotel Pool
- Hatfield~McCoy Driving Tour
- Jensyn’s first steps
Our first night in town, Keith’s parents, Nana (Keith’s grandma), and our family went to Applebee’s for dinner. THAT was an experience! First of all, although Applebee’s is typically one of our favorite places, they seemed to be a rather disorganized bunch at this restaurant location. Secondly, a crazy storm blew in while we were eating dinner. The sky grew really dark, the winds were wild, and…the power went out. At least we had our food before the power outage! ;)
Power was restored before we left the restaurant, and our hotel still had power. We are thankful! Many in that area, including Keith’s relatives, were without power for up to a week. That had to be miserable, since the temps were triple digit!
We went swimming at the hotel pool, headed to bed, and had a fairly relaxing morning the next day. We left the hotel at around 10:30 in order to stop at Walmart (our food contribution for the reunion was chips, salsa, and cheese dip) and then head to the family reunion in Williamson, WV.
Because of the heat and lack of electricity, we weren’t able to have the reunion in its original location. Bill, Brenda, and Cathy had intended to use their large backyard for the party. Anita had planned outdoor games for the children. Instead, we met in the basement of their church. This also happens to be the church that Nana used to attend.
It suited the group fine, and my kids enjoyed playing with the toys from the church nursery. We also brought in a take-along Thomas set and a few other toys from our car.
The really sad part is that the ladies had worked HARD to prepare all sorts of food for the gathering. Because of the power outage and excessive heat, all of the food had to be thrown out. These poor ladies…they had to start all over again.
For lunch, they had sandwich fixings, fruit, chips, and other yummy stuff…with ice cream for dessert. For dinner, they had food catered from a nearby grocery store…chicken, potato salad, macaroni & cheese, baked beans, and strawberry shortcake.
Pictures were taken of each family at the reunion. I do not have copies of these yet, but hopefully they’ll be shared sometime soon. I’ll hold off on trying to name all the relatives until I have pictures to go along with the names. For now, I’ll just say they are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.
Unfortunately, one family wasn’t able to be here. Lisa’s family got into town a few days before the reunion. They’d travelled quite a distance to be there, and they had brought along their large dog. He doesn’t handle heat well, and the power outage/lack of air conditioning was a problem. No hotels would take the large dog, so they were “stuck”. They chose to head for home.
Here are the pictures of our family & Keith’s family.
This was a two-day reunion. Day #2 was church, followed by a lunch of leftovers and a time to visit a bit more before Keith’s immediate family (the ones pictured above) headed on to Pigeon Forge for the rest of the week.
Here’s a random assortment of pictures from the reunion:
Kari & Jensyn
Kari, Sean, Jensyn, Kyle
Ali, Brenda, Bill, Cindy, Nana
(Cindy has researched a lot of family history,
and she brought along scrapbooks and lots of old pictures)
Leanne & Anita
Cailin, Jessica, Jensyn
Zoe (the dog), Brenda, Cindy, Nana
Alex & Cailin
And here’s where I confess my ignorance. Even though I am a college graduate, I have somehow made it to 35 years of age without EVER hearing of the Hatfields & McCoys. I don’t know if I slept through that portion of my history classes, if it wasn’t taught in Illinois schools, or what happened. I just know that Keith told me he’d like to break away from the reunion for a bit, let our kids nap in the car, and we’d do the Hatfield & McCoy Driving Tour. I had NO CLUE what he was talking about. Yep. Missed that somewhere along the line…
Well, now I know the whole story. I also know that I should be watching for reruns of the History Channel’s Mini Series that was broadcast during Memorial Day weekend. (Interesting fact…did you know that the History Channel’s Hatfield & McCoy series was filmed in the country of Romania, not in Kentucky or West Virginia?)
Anyway, if you stop at the Coal House in Williamson, WV you can pick up driving brochures and driving directions for interesting sites in the history of the Hatfields and McCoys.
These pictures were taken in a hewn log cabin, the site of three major feud events: the hog trial, the murder of Devil Anse’s brother Ellison, and the place where Johnse Hatfield met Roseanna McCoy.
We were also able to see the site of Randolph McCoy’s cabin. The cabin is no longer there, but you can see the original well. It’s now in someone’s backyard. The current landowners have a beautifully landscaped area around the well and cabin site, and they kindly offer information and give a brief “tour” if you stop by.
We saw the site of the Paw Paw Massacre, Baby’s Gravesite (Roseanna McCoy’s baby), and the Matewan Depot Museum. We ran out of time to see the Hatfield Cemetery. Here’s the Matewan Train Depot museum:
Alex referred to this as “MY TRAIN”. He stood in the doorway and said, “Would you like to come in my train?” He was not too happy to leave, even though it was well over 100 degrees and we were all melting!
Swimming with extended family at the hotel:
getting ready for church & packing the car on Sunday morning:
Jensyn loved looking in the mirror and saying, “Ba-bay!”
She climbed right up on the luggage cart, ready for a ride.
Jensyn got too noisy & wiggly to stay in the church service, but there was no one in the church nursery. Cathy was in the church basement with her dog, Zoe. (Long story…house was too hot for the dog is the short version) I decided I’d rather visit with Cathy than sit in an empty nursery, so Jensyn & I went downstairs. (Besides, Jensyn LOVES dogs…and she thought Cathy’s dog was wonderful!)
As Cathy & I chatted, Jensyn stood up (using no hands to pull up) and took several steps with a big grin on her face. Jensyn took her very first steps in West Virginia! She was SO PROUD of herself! I had no camera, and Daddy missed the moment.
After lots of good-byes, we headed out to make the 3.5 hour drive to our cabin in Pigeon Forge. That’ll be the next post…