Monday, July 20, 2009

Baylor Park: Family, camping, volleyball, and fun!!!

It was a weekend of fun, family, and great conversations. The annual Randall/Hansen/Kokesh reunion took place on the Baylor Park camping grounds this past weekend. This year was a bit more unique then others for myself. Although in the past I did talk with a handful of distant cousin in the Hansen and Kokesh clans, this year, thanks to Facebook ( I know), my connection and array of topics to discuss were broadened. The expansion allowed more points of discussion with more members of my distant family.
Saturday was an adventure as we joined the several members of the Randall clan in the camp grounds at Baylor. After pitching a tent, which we later had to move, the group headed over to the volleyball pit to determine who had the right to defend the volleyball trophy for the Randall clan on Sunday.
Several games were played and in the end nothing was really determined. After some dinner it was cocktail hour.

With the fire pit ablaze the group of us, about 30, encroached the bon fire. All around the circle people engaged in conversation after conversation. As darkness fell, the air was illuminated with sparkler activity for the kids. Good time was had and no one lost an eyeball in the process. With the sparklers done, it was time for the kids to go to bed and the more senior members of the clan to enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet. YEAH RIGHT!!!!

People came and went and more went then came. Around 2:30 a.m., time is still in question, cousin Rob voiced his opinion on the fun those few who remained at the bon fire and the crowd dispersed. In good Randall fashion, a few of us escorted one of the junior female members of the clan back to her campsite. Once there the conversation lingered for about another hour or so. Once again a voice came from the darkness to offer an opinion of the time which we concurred as we stumbled our way back up the dusty road to our campsites.

8:00 a.m. came quick. It was time to pack up camp and get ready for the reason everyone had come; the Randall/Hansen/Kokesh reunion. The Randall's played the role of host. As host we descended on to the Beach Shelter pavilion. As one can guess it was near the beach. In Randall tradition two large pots of water were set to boil as several hands shucked corn for the corn feed. Others in the clan set about to attached balloons to the tables, signs to direct traffic, established a welcome table, arrange a buffet line, and other fun decoration activities.

Just shy of 1 p.m. a small playground incident took place between two siblings resulting in a trek to the emergency room to deal with a nursemaid elbow. While the ride was rough for the two year old, the results were good. After about a hour away from the reunion, the two year old returned as if nothing had taken place. People ate and held court in different pockets of the grounds surrounding the pavilion.

Cousin Tracy organized the kids and started the array of games for all ages. Kids of all ages from the three clans participated and all were rewarded with trinkets; none more popular than the plastic squirt gun. After the kid games were complete, it was on to cowboy golf. Only a few participants enlisted their golf ball throwing techniques to the game; yet those that participated enjoyed themselves.

Now came the second most anticipated moment of every reunion; the water balloon toss. It was for entertaining to watch as the group expanded the distance from each other. While the expanse was great for some; others had little trouble hurling their water filled balloon through the air to their partner in waiting. Several people watch their water balloons exploding upon impact on the ground. One lucky participant did indeed catch her balloon only to become drenched by its contents. Here is a picture of her just before catching it.

After the water balloon toss, the extra water bombs became fodder for the more mischievous members of the clan. For about twenty minutes the extra balloons were hurled at unsuspecting members of the family. The water was a welcomed refreshment as the day was very warm.
As the bombardment of water balloons subsided, the group moved toward the volleyball pit. In keeping with tradition, the annual "Who's playing for the Randall's clan?" discussion took place. It was quickly determined that each elder would have a spot upon the volleyball court and if more than one member of that elders clan wanted to play they'd rotate with all members of that clan. The mini-tournament started with the defending champs watching the Kokesh and Hansen battle.

It was best of 3 15-point standard scoring format. After about 40 minutes of play, the Kokesh's took the match in two straight games. A seven minute break ensued to give the Kokesh's a moment to catch their breath and obtain libation. Six members of the Randall clan took the court while 8 members took court for the Kokesh's. Even with some spectacular dives by a junior member of the Kokesh clan; the Randall Clan won the first game.

As the two groups switched sides of the court, the Kokesh family replaced some of their junior members for more senior members of the team. The strategy proved effective as the Kokesh's took a quick lead and held it for most of the game. With the Kokesh's serving for game point, the Randall clan mustered up some strength and forced a sideout. The score was 10-14 in favor of the Kokesh's after the sideout. The Randall's had minor success as they inched closer at 12-14 before a sideout.

Thankfully on the next serve by the Kokesh's, their Randall clan was able to achieve a quick sideout. With ace server John poised to launch the ball the Randall clan saw possible defeat and a third game become a 16-14 victory and a successful defending of the volleyball trophy. Both teams shook hands and gave congratulations to each other. Another great reunion capped with exciting volleyball action.

Slowly members of all three clans packed up their chairs, coolers, and other items. Clean up commenced. About 6;30 p.m. the last of the family members made their away from the Beach Shelter and to their cars taking with them memories of another sunny, enjoyable, and fun family reunion.