A Southern Family Reunion. Out West.

My Lovely Family

My Lovely Family

I grew up in the South.  North Carolina.  Of the six kids born to my parents, three of us live out West with our families, and three of us still live in North Carolina near my parents.  We don’t come from big money, so it’s a rare occasion for us to all get together.  In fact, it never happens.   This is as close as it gets…all together with my folks and the families out West.  If you notice the ages of these darling grandkids, and if you have experience with kids this age, you’ll understand what a BIG deal it is to get ALL of them to leave their friends with reckless abandon and join their weird cool family for a ~gasp~ FAMILY REUNION.   This picture was taken on a Sunday afternoon, at a picnic at the park…the only day we would have one of these cute grand daughters, and so I set up shop with my gear and we got some timeless photos.

This is the real us, unposed and being silly (in the background)

This is the real us, unposed and being silly

My parents were kind enough to come visit us, just as our daughter was coming home from her mission.  You see, they lived with my family for a year while they served a mission here in Salt Lake City.  So my kids got really attached to this cute old couple.  Really attached.  My daughter was thrilled to have them here when she arrived.  When my parents left the mission about four years ago, my Papa was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and they gave him four years to live.  Making this trip was quite a sacrifice, no small feat for him.  And he will likely never be able to return.  So this was an extra special trip for us out here in the big wide West, especially my little family.

Now when I say Southern Family Reunion, the above pictures do not depict that at all.  The following pictures do…

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My brother Max, and his son Carter on the guitars

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Sitting around the guitars, singing and telling stories, now that’s a Southern Family Reunion, Walker style!

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Uncle Max (awesome shot by my daughter)

When we get together, it’s all about the stories and the music.  Guitar music.  On this day we were privileged to hear many of the songs we grew up hearing my Papa sing, including the few he wrote.  Max also sings many of the songs that my Mama’s dad sang.  He is the only child in the family that knows these songs.  This.  This.  This is heaven on earth.

Saying goodbye to these two Grandparents was a difficult thing.  The three weeks they spent here with our families is a gift that will keep on giving.

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Our son Joseph saying goodbye

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Our daughter Jessi saying goodbye

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Me trying to say goodbye

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Me huggin my Mama

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Me huggin my Papa

My daughter Katie was the first to say goodbye and the first to leave.  Here is a text conversation soon after she left…

Katie:    Are you guys going to stay much longer?
Me:        Kids having s’mores.  Prob leave soon.  Why?
K:           Because it was hard to leave!  I didn’t want to.  I want to come back.
Me:        How far away are you?
K:           Passing by our house.  Would it be worth it for me to come back?
Me:        Will prob leave in about 20.  Joe left.  You can hurry back if you want and stay longer than us.
K:           Oh, alright.  That’s okay then.  It’s probably better to just rip the bandaid off once anyway.
Me:        It doesn’t get any easier.  I can tell you that.
K:           I’m sure it doesn’t.  It was much harder than I thought it would be.
Me:        Yeah.  Remember how I fell apart in NC?  We took the whole family back a couple of years ago and I cried uncontrollably in the
hotel room after saying goodbye to my Papa because I didn’t think I would ever see him again.
K:           I remember.  Every time it feels like it’s going to be the last time, huh?
Me:        Yeah.  Every time.

So a big thank you to our awesome family for making our time together with our parents so memorable and perfect.  Times like this is what living is for.  Cheers!

View the whole reunion album here.

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