I only have two remaining relatives from my parents' generation. Sweet Aunt Mary out in San Diego was married to my Uncle Wayne, making her an in-law - though the charming and witty 90-year-old certainly feels more like a blood relative than someone who married into the family. And then there is my mother's youngest sibling, Floyd Edgar Sreaves. Floyd turned eighty-five-years-young this past Saturday, and a big celebration was held in his honor at the Swars Prairie Baptist Church in rural Newton County on Sunday afternoon.
I made the nearly four-hour trip to Uncle Floyd's birthday bash to wish him well - and to check in with the assembled cousins - some of whom I had not seen in multiple decades. If I counted correctly, there were eight cousins present, all grandchildren of Daniel Alexander and Nancy Jane (Roark) Sreaves. In addition to myself (the oldest), there was my sister, Gail Macy, and Cousin Bill Dobbs (the prosecuting attorney of McDonald County). Two of Uncle Ned's girls were there: Nedolyn Sreaves LeMasters, a retired elementary school teacher, and Amy Jane Sreaves (whose married name I don't know). Three of Uncle Floyd's daughters were also at the party: Connie Sreaves Fisher, and Roxanne and Dana Sreaves (whose married names I also don't know).
And there were kids and grandkids aplenty! Uncle Floyd even introduced two of his great-great-grandchildren to the gathering.
Uncle Floyd and I had a nice visit. He remembered that the last time we had seen each other was at my father's funeral. That would have been in December of 2009 - a long time ago. (I have lived in Japan since then!)
I met a young lady at the party named Jennifer, the daughter of one of my cousins, who has an interest in climbing the family tree. I hope she follows through with her research. It is a fascinating field of study, and I am so glad to see it being picked up by the younger set.
One genealogy-related thing that I did that afternoon was to get out and walk through the cemetery at the church - a place where multiple generations of my grandparents are buried. Back when I was working hard at collecting family tree information, I would spend hours in cemeteries meticulously writing down information. Now all one has to do is just quickly snap pictures of the tombstones with cell phones! That plus the availability and ease of using the internet makes modern family research so much simpler than it used to be.
Mom used to tell the story of Uncle Floyd visiting her at the hospital after I was born. He would have been seventeen at the time. Apparently Floyd picked me up and looked me over, and then said with a straight face, "Why Florine, he's only got nine toes." That remark threw the new mother into a panic! (Just for the record, I had ten toes - and still do!)
Sunday was a long day - over seven hours on the road, but it was a nice reunion - one that I would have hated to have missed. It was great getting to re-connect with so many people!