Sunday, July 20, 2014

family + hospitality

Interstate 85 was adorned with fields of yellow sunflowers and rows of crepe myrtles in whites, pinks, and purples. The sun was shining and the traffic sparse. We cruised along, our family of three, and Grandma, too. Our destination–the annual Dishman Family Reunion–to be held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. 

I am only in on this reunion by way of marriage, but I deeply admire the Dishman commitment to family. Once a year they abandon regular schedules and routines, moving heaven and earth, to make the trek to gather with kinfolk. The agenda is always the same. Lawn chairs and shaded porches. Sweet tea and cold beer. Home-cooked food. Conversations and gossip. Photos and family trees. Games like checkers and Silly String wars.

From as far as Texas and as near as Virginia, from as young as 2 months to as old as 87 years, the Dishmans caravan to the beautiful home of Lisa and David and their twin girls, Maddie and Caroline.

The weekend, with leisurely time spent renewing and making new connections, was bookend on both sides by gracious hospitality.

While David, Lisa , and the girls made it look effortless to host such a crowd of 50 or 60, we all know how much work it takes. David cooked pulled pork and beef brisket and ribs, secret recipe baked beans, and homemade sausage gravy for breakfast. Lisa surprised her parents, Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Marie, with a replica of their wedding cake to mark their 60th anniversary. Maddie and Caroline welcomed guests, lent a helping hand as needed, shared their toys and entertained little ones. This family not only opened their home, but invited us to feel at home. 

And we thank them for this gift. . .and a few lessons learned.

Lesson 1.Listening to what other people have to say and asking questions about their lives is way more interesting than talking about myself. (Billy, Your stories of your adventures in China far outshine any article in National Geographic).

Lesson 2.We are each the keepers of our own story, of the kindness we choose to share, of the struggle from which we choose to rise above–and our joy, too. (Julie, Your attitude is an inspiration to us all.)

And finally, the lesson of the value of a few days off. 

Learn to pause. . . or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.   –Doug King


  1. What a beautiful post and a sweet tradition. My siblings, (along with and our children and grandchildren), started a yearly reunion after our parents died. We were afraid we'd loose a "central gathering place" without Mama's home to go to so we rent a beach house each summer. We are going this week!

    1. Elizabeth, Enjoy your beach house reunion. Yes, I remind my younger sisters that as my Mom ages, it becomes even more important for us to rely upon and trust each other, to remain friends, and to encourage each other. I'll look forward to lots of pictures and your faith-filled insights.

  2. How wonderful to be part of that family!

  3. What a wonderful time you had. These kind of family gathers are becoming rare, so it is great that this traditional continues in your husband's family.

  4. *sigh* I'm catching up on blogs too! LOve this!

  5. How wonderful ! Family is such a precious thing, I'm glad you had a great time ! Your photos are beautiful and I love the sunflowers ! ( I live off I85 in NC, I must go looking for some ! )

  6. wonderful lessons that you shared...important for family ...and beyond...


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