Kootenay Clan Reunion July 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

4 Dutch families immigrated to the Kootenays about 50 years ago: Dorgelos, Douweses, Bults, and Stroeses. Through various stories, they met and became friends. Over the years, hundreds of shared dinners, camping trips, cruises, celebrations, marriages, children, losses and gains, tragedies and delights, the group became increasingly tied together. While children and grandchildren appeared, and many scattered across Western Canada, we became closer instead of further apart. We started calling ourselves “the Clan”.

This summer, Harold and Sandra, with their cottage on Kootenay Lake, organized a semiformal reunion on the Lake. I drove down with Zachary, Olivia, and Olivia’s friend Chaylene to spend 10 days with Opa & Oma, and to be there for the Clan Weekend.

We actually managed to assemble nearly the whole group for a photo (I’ll post it here when I get a copy!).

It was a fantastic time; it was supposed to rain but it was delightfully sunny, with scattered cooling clouds. I played horrible horrible golf on Saturday morning, but my last amazing 20-foot putt was right in front of the whole group.

We rented a waterski boat and I managed to slalom. My muscles have not forgiven me yet, they’re aching terribly 2 days later!

Some of the youngest kids hardly left the water, in fact, Olivia and Chaylene ended up sleeping on the beach one night. Dogs frolicked around. The first generation sat in the shade and watched the dozens of grandchildren occupy themselves on the beach for 2 days straight. Scary numbers of beer and wine bottles steadily piled up in the back.

My father & mother, and Zachary and I played golf this morning at the Fruitvale “Champion Lakes” course. It was wonderful exercise for my stiffening muscles and my ego. My father plays this course a lot, and it looks like he could do it with his eyes closed; he nevertheless had a so-so day shooting 48 on the par 36 nine holes. My mother shoots dead straight as usual, not very far, but never off the fairway, never in the sand, never in the water, and puts like a demon. She got a respectable 55. Zachary was frustrated, expecting a lot of himself despite being an early beginner. I don’t think he appreciated not beating his grandmother yet; he shot 58. I’m a horrible horrible golfer, and I had a bad day: 68. 🙂

Zachary’s off to Vancouver today. I dropped him off at Helmi’s and the Dorgelo’s picked him up on their way to Kelowna today, and from there he and Cassandra took the Greyhound. He’s 17 and bored with the quiet of the Kootenays. Helmi told him he’s a fool to leave early, with all the quiet and clean air — he said he’d come back when he’s old. 🙂 Ah well, he’ll have had a good time in the car and bus with Cassandra; at least she’s close to his age.

Most of the local Stroeses are over to our house for dinner; mom & dad working on Chow Mein all afternoon. I stir fried some peppers and supplied the cold beer & wine. The crowd plunged into the pool on arrival and the kids mostly stayed there; it’s almost 30 degrees in the shade!