Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On The Road--Doc Goes to Church

Doc hits the road and claims a cushy spot in the RV

                When we last left you, we were in the midst of the annual Jenkins Family Reunion. If you missed the last two blog posts, then you need to get caught up . . . Now! I mean stop reading this one and go find the others. It’s okay, take your time. We’ll wait. Here's the first one if you missed it:
Meet "Doc" Gnome And here's the second in the series: Doc goes to the Family Reunion . 
                All done? You know the backstory of our resident traveling gnome, right? Great, let’s move on. It is Sunday at Lake Leon in Ranger, Texas and sadly, it is the last day of the family reunion. However, it is one of my favorites because it is time for our annual reunion church service. In the past, various families have taken turns organizing and delivering the praise service and this year was our turn.
                 My dynamic sister-in-law, Diana welcomed the sleepy crowd and gave a moving testimony at how much the reunion and family meant to her. She opened with a heart-felt prayer that moved several to tears. Praise singing came next and although I hate to brag on the Jenkins family ( insert a sarcastic tone to that last phrase) . . .  But I’ll do it anyway, because I’m giving the glory to God. He has blessed this family with some amazing musical talent that these young twenty-somethings are using to His glory.    
                My great-nephew, 4-year old Jackson, led off the service with a sweet solo, “I am Something Special.” His Nana (grandmother) needed a few tissues after that one. Next up was my bass-singing nephew, Duane and his lovely wife Stefanie. Duane’s proud mother also kept that tissue box busy during their song. Notice in the picture below, that these young “whipper-snappers” don’t need sheet music these days, they just sing from their phones. . . or to their phones it's hard to say which, sometimes.

Stefanie and Duane Stark
                Next up was my daughter, Natalie and her talented husband David. Together they sang “The Desert Song” while David accompanied on his guitar. Doc nudged me and said he’d vote for them to move to the final round, but I had to break it to him, that he was a plastic gnome—not a judge on “American Idol.” Now, folks, we have to be patient with Doc. Bless his little heart, we have to remember Doc didn’t exactly grow up going to church at his previous home in the yard-decoration section at Garden Ridge.

David and Natalie Shurley

                Our volunteer-preacher for the morning was none other than my beloved brother-in-law, Russell. He had prepared a wonderful message about the power of prayer and using it as a connective tool to keep our lives in touch with our Maker. Doc loved the sermon because it was short and sweet. He said his backside never even got a chance to get numb. Honestly, I didn’t know this was a problem for the little guy, since I’ve never seen him sit down or even knew that he could. Oh well.
"Brother" Russell- our preacher for the day

Writer’s Reflection:
      So as our reunion draws to a close and all the goodbyes and hugs are delivered, Doc reminds me that I have to take a few moments to put this weekend in a writer’s perspective.
1.      1. Treasure the family that you have. Ties can deepen with a little effort and planning, but even neglect can cause irrevocable damage.

2.     2.  Lack of family can leave a hole in our hearts, even those of our imaginary characters. Having your character attend a friend’s family reunion might stir a longing for family that he/she had not experienced before.
3    3. Perhaps, a family reunion could be a catalyst for conflict among a weaker couple, making them aware of their vast differences in upbringing.
       4.Old conflicts and rivalries can and do resurface at reunions and can be a colorful setting for a fist fights, boat races, fishing competitions or 42-domino tournaments, all of which my family does at the reunion. Except the fist fight part. 
       5. Old wounds, hurts and past regrets can also find a healing place at a family reunion. People grow up and change, at least most of us do.And we'd like to think it is for the better. It's never too late to say "I'm sorry."

 The possibilities are endless, so get busy and use that family reunion in a fresh new way in your story or manuscript.

Coming up: Doc Goes to the Desert—kind of. 


  1. Wow, Ava! What a great way to end your vacation...worshiping with the family! (with Doc by your side!) I'm so glad you have had the chance to get away. Sounds like fun!

  2. Thanks Sherrinda. I'm having a blast with these posts and we even have a Reunion page I am also posting on. More about our trip on Thursday.


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