It’s tradition: every year, all 36 of us Hershbergers cram into the delightfully kitschy Indian Bear Lodge in central Ohio for a weekend of good food, exciting games of cornhole (I mean, we have official tournament brackets, trophies and everything) and hearty belly laughs all around. As a younger man, I think I took these get-togethers for granted; I saw my family all the time (we also have monthly birthday parties where we all get together and celebrate the birthdays of the past month), and though family camping was my favorite gathering of the year, I never really appreciated how fantastic it actually is.
Think about it: all 36 of us (well, 34 of us this year; one’s in China and one’s working in Virginia) put aside the hubbub and stress of our busy lives to come together for a weekend and celebrate family. I mean, the fact that we’re both able and willing to do this absolutely spoils us rotten. We all get along so well, and the love in Indian Bear is palpable when we’re here, even though most of it is couched in gentle joshing and outright humiliation.
My favorite part of the entire weekend is always the Sunday morning church service we put on (though it definitely didn’t used to be when I was a kid; “Mom and Dad, do we HAVE to do church this year?”). We all gather in the lodge’s living room, and the grandkids will sometimes put on a skit, one of the adults will do an object lesson for the youngest kidders, and there are usually some Bible readings, too. I also am blessed enough to be part of a musical family, so there’s always worship with guitar and keyboard accompaniment. Let me tell you, when our whole family raises their voices in four-part harmony to “How Great Thou Art,” it’s pretty hard not to get chills.
All this to say: I am so endlessly and wholeheartedly grateful for my family. We’re tight-knit, fiercely loyal and loving, and we’re all pretty dang hilarious, if you ask me. Now that I’m a bit older and I don’t see everybody every month (because I live in Kentucky now), I understand how lucky we really are, and our weekends at Indian Bear are a highlight of my year for entirely different reasons. Some of my best childhood memories happened during family camping weekends, and now, I have a whole new, slightly different set of adult memories to cherish, too. I’d wax poetic even more, but I hear laughter coming from downstairs, and I don’t want to miss joining in the fun.
And with this post, my portion of Blog Wars 2012 comes to an end. (Well, Miss Kelcie has yet to contribute a guest post, but since I won’t be writing that, I still consider this my end.) As I expected, it seems I will be bringing up the rear with five total posts written by me and two guest posts, bringing my total to seven posts. (I am not as competitive as my fellow blog warriors, I must admit.) That is not to say that I haven’t fully enjoyed this exercise, and that it hasn’t been a great learning experience for me. I hope you all have enjoyed what I’ve had to say (if you haven’t, sorry for bombarding you with posts all week long), and make sure to check out my guest posts on Kelcie and Erin’s blogs here and here, respectively. I won’t be keeping to such a strenuous posting schedule after this week, but I will still be updating here and there, so stay tuned, Internet-at-large. There are definitely more drops to add to the multitude.