Tuesday, October 12, 2004

River Party

Fall River Party
Saturday was the tenth annual Bishop gathering at the St. Joseph River. Not having a rain plan, I was pleased to awake to blue skies and sunshine, and the cool air made it a perfect fall day.

At 2:00, 25 of us gathered - from 18 months old to 81 years old. We cooked Beef Gascon in a large kettle over the open fire while the rest of the family brought side dishes and desserts. Tim brought bushels of apples from his trees, which has become part of the fall ritual.

In the afternoon, part of us went up to the Highlands and part of us stayed at the Property. (Yes, we own two river properties in addition to our home - which makes for LOTS of mowing.) In the barn at the Highlands, Mom was giving away some of her stuff she couldn't fit in her new apartment. The brothers and sister and I were reluctant to select anything in case others may want it, but the grandkids had no such compunction. (My son Ron has been reading Dad's WWII training manuals all week.) Tim brought his black powder musket and made some loud noises shooting the targets while the teenagers played a game of football.

Back at the property, Steve gave rides on the riverboat, even after night fell. The teenagers also took the canoes out; luckily no one fell in this year. Last year, Caecilia fell in after her canoe was rammed by her brother. I never saw anyone move so fast for shore as the canoe floated downstream.

The stew was done so we gathered to eat after praising God for our family and the day. After we took the kettle off the fire, Jennifer fried some bacon and mush for entertainment as the bacon grease caught on fire. Sated, we sat around the fire and told scary stories. One story made even the adults shriek in horror: President Kerry. We hid in the dark to scare the returning nighttime river boat riders. However, Grandma hid in her car and had trouble with her automatic headlights, etc.-our sides were splitting watching her antics. Andy's title is still secure though-the kids said that no one at the river has ever hidden and scared them as much as Andy once did. Then the storytelling started again as Mike softly played his guitar with Jennifer on harmonica with 3-year-old Morgan helping her. Each story outdid the previous one until Jenny capped off the evening with a thinly disguised Stephen King tale adapted to the Saint Frances Bass Mansion.

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