We spent this weekend at Rundle's Mission on Pigeon Lake, along with a number of other families from our church. Despite a dismal forecast, the weather was awesome throughout the weekend, enabling the flying of kites, the playing of bocce, and lots of just sitting around enjoying each other's company.
I declared at the opening of the weekend that I wanted to leave with the same number of family members I started with, but perhaps come away with more friends, and I feel we accomplished that. Tara and Jerry joined us for the weekend, and Jerry's son Jason came out for a couple of nights too. We met people we knew by sight but not really by name, which is the real purpose of the weekend.
You get together together for perhaps an hour a week under normal circumstances, but the opportunity to both work, play and live together tells you so much more about each other: who is more competitive, who is adventurous, who pulls their weight during clean-up (pretty much everybody, thankfully!) and so on.
It is great watching the kids grow up out there, too. Glory has attended since she was 4, but watching someone else turn from an angry and potentially misguided adolescent turn into a typical and friendly teenaged boy, with all the inspiration and desperation associated with that stage of life, is a good reminder of how none of us are the same as we used to be.
So many kinds of families as well, from the typical mom and dad plus kids format, to the couple who met later in life but didn't let that stop them from having a child together, to the older lady who looks after her friend like a sister, because 'someone should'. I hope I have enough gumption to go to clown camp after I retire so I can cheer people up at the hospital, as she plans to!
One of the new attendees earned the nickname 'Il Boccissimo' for his almost supernatural prowess at bocce ball, one of the favourite activities on the fair weather days. (That's him in the blue shirt above.). A delightful pastime that mimics a sport, but is truly a game, what with the uneven ground, sticks, twigs and roots conspiring to end your shot askew, and kids and dogs wandering into the playing area at any given moment. At least there is plenty of time between throws to admire a (largely lucky) shot or the weather, or to sip a cold beverage.
There is no word yet as to whether Il Boccissimo intends to join the pro tour or not, but some sort of sponsorship offer is anticipated.