Monday, July 27, 2015

Camp Meeting 2015

This weekend has just been so near and dear to my heart. Jeff and I took Friday off from work and spent a long weekend in Mississippi for my family reunion (aka Camp Meeting). Camp Meeting is an annual 10-day revival where everyone on my dad's side of the family gets together and gathers at the campground. 

And by everyone...I really do mean everyone. Here's the thing: my grandmama and her three sisters have been coming to this campground since they were BORN. And over the past 95 (yes, ninety five) years, they have brought their children....and their children....and their children along with them. So yeah, we're talking four generations here. I'm not sure how many of you get to hang out with, or even know, your third cousins, but I'm pretty fond of mine :) 

This year (the 173rd annual camp meeting), those sweet little sisters got the honor of being interviewed for the Sunday paper. So not only are they 90 years old and running circles around their grandchildren, but they're also famous!

This is a picture of the paper yesterday morning. From left to right that's Aunt Julia Lee (95), Aunt Louise (93), my grandmama (91), and Aunt Ree (89). Do you see that headline? Haven't missed a summer at the campground. Do you see those ages? Eat your butterbeans, people. Southern cooking promotes a long life! Pie probably helps, too....

So needless to say, camp meeting is a pretty special occasion. And it's a heck of a lot of fun, too! This was also Jeff's first time to meet the extended family, so a pretty great weekend indeed!

Here's a little bit of what goes down at the campgroud:

First things first, I took Jeff to "the stand." The Stand is a little shack on the camp ground that holds a plethora of candies and, most importantly, ice cream. So needless to say, this was my favorite place as a kid. And my dad still takes me on dates here. It's tradition!

Listen, when the heat index is 106+ degrees, ice cream has no calories. Which is why we went about 4 times in 48 hours. It's a means of survival!

Saturdays are usually pretty big around the camp ground. Jeff and I woke up fairly early and went for a little tandem bike ride action. 

I may not be able to ride a bike (sadly that's a true statement for those of you that are new here), but I am a champion tandem biker. 

Fine, okay, I'm not even doing anything back there. I know. But at least I look cool! 

After a brief ride (and being attacked/chased by a small dog), we wheeled on over to my grandmama's cabin for some morning coffee. ....which brings me to....

We do an extreme amount of porch sitting/swinging at the camp ground. And y'all - this is probably my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I love drinking a cup of coffee curled up in bed, but there's just nothing like sipping coffee on a porch swing. 

Oh, and please note Jeff's "southern swoop." A lot of the teenage boys were rocking this style so Jeff thought he'd give it a try :)
 After cup three or four we went to wake up Brooklyn and take her to see the animals. Because when you're in Mississippi, farm animals are quite easily at your disposal...

And this year, so were 2 week old beagle/basset hound puppies. 

I mean, did your heart just melt?! If not then you must be a cat person. 

Alright, so after the animals we got washed up, had a bit more coffee on the porch swing, and then headed to my grandmama's house for a big southern family lunch. 

And by big, I mean big. And by southern, I mean southern.

My grandmama is the best cook in the world. And her fried okra is magical. 

Seriously...people fight over it. 

Post lunch pictures with these goofs. Please note that Jeff is holding five jars of homemade jelly and a hand written family tree that my cousin Haley made for him (four generations of four sisters...remember?) I think it's safe to say he got a good southern education. Especially since he thought a butter bean was a type of jelly bean...

After the big family lunch it was time for the annual shaving cream fight!! 

Are you confused? Let me walk you through this. It's literally just a fight with shaving cream. 

 Let the games begin!


Bottom right: my dad would like you to notice his placement of Jeff's Mohawk with the church steeple. Okay then. So what do you do when you're covered in shaving cream from head to toe? 

You jump in the creek! 

The creek is more or less a huge watering hole behind all the cabins where everyone keeps cool in the summer heat. My grandmama and her sisters even talked about how they played in the creek in the article above, so it's obviously a fool-proof method that's been around for over a century.

The creek also has a rope swing and zip line for kids (and adults) to play on. So naturally, my sweet family peer pressured Jeff to go off the rope swing. Like my cousin Jill said: "it's a rite of passage." 

Okay, fine, confession. I've never done it. And never plan to. That thing terrified me as a kid and again as a 27-year old. No thanks. But of course I was right there in the crowd telling Jeff it was a requirement :)

So off he went - impressing us with a back flip and landing in a position that made the spectating crowd all say "ooohhh." (See last picture below)


After the creek, we dried off, went by the Stand, and got ready for church (complete in our matching family t-shirts. I'm telling you, we have that family reunion most people just hear about). 

I mentioned this was a 10-day revival, so church is pretty frequent. And hot. You see, church is in a tabernacle (aka a roof with a bunch of pews and a floor of sawdust). Brooklyn loves her some church, especially the song portion. My dad snapped this during the service Saturday night and it just makes me laugh :)

After the Saturday night service everyone runs to the tractors to get ready for the annual hayride! This is a hiiiighly anticipated event by all the kiddos, and it was Brooklyn's first year to ride! Well, I guess it was Jeff's, too, but I think it was a bigger deal for an almost 3-year old than an almost -year old :)

Originally just the four of us jumped in, but after some whining persuading, (grand)daddy jumped in too! The sky is the limit for things grandaddies will do for their granddaughters :)

We don't have any pictures on the hayride (too dark), but just for the record, Brooklyn LOVED it. Throwing hay was just beyond entertaining. And by the end of the ride I was completely covered in hay and itching like no other :)
The hayride is always followed by hotdogs, and by the time the hayride brings you back to the campground, the line is already forming. They ordered 550 hot dogs this year - it's a pretty big deal for a pretty big group of people. Aaaand you know I love hot dogs, so my mouth was watering in anticipation the whole hay ride :)

Paw and I and our hot dogs!
This little one skipped the hot dog and opted for ice cream from the Stand :)
 The rest of the evening consisted of ping pong, playgrounds, volleyball, nighttime bike rides, etc. All in all, a pretty jam-packed Saturday! 

Camp Meeting ends with church on "Big Sunday," where everyone gets dressed up to go to the tabernacle (to sweat buckets) before packing up and heading out. My dad/Amy started the pack-up process, but Brooklyn told me she "wanted to go sing to Jesus," so Jeff and I took her to do just that. When a 3-year old wants to praise go praise Jesus. 

 And that's a wrap! Good-byes are always pretty hard here. While it's such a cool thing that we have this opportunity to see extended-extended family, it only happens once a year, so your good-byes have to last a while. 

I texted my dad last night after I got back to Dallas just telling him how much I truly love his/our family. These people are hilarious and such a joy to be around, and will support you 365 days a year, even when we're all over the south region of the continent. I've experienced it first-hand. 

My grandmama's branch of the family - 2015
 I just love these people. And I'm already looking forward to the 174th Camp Meeting. 


Until next time,





Post a Comment