Family Reunion

Laura and I just got back from a long weekend drive to Sheringa in South Australia.  The event was Lynette’s 21st birthday celebration, and we have missed so many family events recently that we were determined to get to this one.
Laura has her learner’s licence now, so she drove part of the way which was a great help to me.  I have been the sole driver in the family for the past 5 years since Anita gave up her licence due to MS.  Since every trip is over 1000km or more, it is a relief to once again be able to share the driving.  Laura ended up driving about 1200km out of the 3500km we drove for the weekend.  She gained experience in long distance driving, dirt roads, wet roads, night driving, driving in the rain, and driving in built-up areas.
Once we arrived at “Springvilla” and got a good night’s sleep on the Friday night, we went fishing early Saturday morning.  It wasn’t the best fishing trip we’ve had but a nice bag of rock cod, sweep, tommies, mullet, and salmon trout made for a very welcome lunch of fresh fish.  Much tastier than the frozen fish on offer in Tennant Creek!!
Then it was time for the main event.  All of my siblings were there: Sharon, Miriam, Samuel, Michelle, Rachel, Joshua, and Saul, along with their partners and most of their children.  Half-brother Leslie was absent, but not missed as I have had no contact with him for years.  Mum was there as well, so that made it a full family reunion, something that has not occurred for several years.  Everyone is looking older, which is probably not surprising as everyone is older.  It hardly seems credible that it is 21 years since I first began visiting Samuel and Sonya at Springvilla, when Lynette was a newborn baby.  But here she was celebrating her 21st birthday.  Several other nieces are now married, and Miriam is a grandmother.  Other nieces are at university.  The family is growing up, and the next generation is heading out into the world to make their mark.  It is great to see, as I am the first in either side of my family and the only one of my generation to have a Bachelor degree, and now the next generation has several students at uinversity and several more heading that way.
After the party, we rolled out our swags at the venue and stayed the night.  Laura and I turned in a little earlier than most because we had 1800km to drive home starting the next morning.
Was it worth driving 3500km just to spend a weekend with family?  Absolutely!  Laura had some time off work, and I was able to arrange some leave.  A bit of overtime work paid for the diesel, so off we went.  Anita wasn’t up to such a long drive so she stayed home with Claire and Erin.  It would have been nice to include them in the family reunion, but the logistics were too difficult.  An advantage of having an almost empty vehicle was that we could pick up Anita’s father Roger to go back to Tennant Creek with us for a month’s visit.  If we had all gone to the party, that would not have been possible.

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