Merry Belknap!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'll never forget mom's phone call 10 years ago...I can't believe it's been that long. It was 2 weeks before Christmas and she and Dad had gone up to Belknap Hot Springs for the weekend. Dad's sister Val had recently married Ron DePiero and the whole DePiero clan had planned this cool Belknap Christmas weekend so they could all get together for the holidays. Uncle Ron is one of those great jolly guys who lives his life with open arms and ready advice, and he had told Val to go ahead and invite her family too. So Mom and Dad went.
Mom called me on Saturday just bubbling about how pretty the lodge was decorated
...and how incredibly nice this family was
and how it was snowing and the kids were decorating cookies
...and the dads were going to take them sledding up the mountain
and some of the ladies were doing crafts
...and they were going to have a big dinner all together
and the pool was like a giant hot tub
...and there was room for us on the floor in their room
and did we want to come up for the night.
We had a 4 month old baby at the time, but we packed up the crib, some little blue footie jammies and a santa hat. I wish I could post the picture of that first year at Belknap for you, but that was before digital cameras. LOL! Maybe I'll scan it.
We spent this past weekend at Belknap. This was year number 11. Wow. The clan has grown so that we fill up the entire lodge and all the cabins now. Every year is different. Sometimes it's all about the pool and sometimes it's all about the late night scrabble and poker games... and sometimes it snows! (Those are the really great years). We always do a giant ornament exchange and the huge tree they put up in the lodge is decorated now with a lot of our ornaments from years past. The part I love the most is that I don't really know these people. I see them once a year and every year on the drive up Steve and I have to refresh ourselves on names and faces and associations. But then as soon as we walk in...we're family. There are ready hugs and smiles from people truly glad that you came...again! One of our favorite families showed up this year with a brand new baby after telling us last year that they were DONE! Hilarious! There is one couple that has been there from the beginning. John and Donna. They aren't any relation at all. She is one of the DePiero sisters' best friends from college, but at Belknap they are as much part of the family as Uncle Ron is. So are the front desk people. We always make them have dinner with us.
This year my boys were the cool "older kids" and everyone seemed to be holding a baby or chasing an adorable toddler. (Oh how I remember those days!) I learned to knit at Belknap 3 years ago. This year I finished the aqua blue scarf and gave it to my 10 year old cousin Mikaela...and made a friend for life! We won at Pictionary, she and I.
Wow. I am blessed. It's true that I have some difficult, sorrow filled places in my life, that's for sure. But I also have Belknap Christmas with the DePiero's. I am rich.


SteveHoffmann said...

It was a great year this year. Really flew by, faster than past years. Great pictures...

Jen said...

Yay! I got a comment.
Love you Hoff :-) did go by too fast!

AMILYNN said...

Sad we missed it but Pine Ridge was awesome! Maybe soon Dad can come too! Love ya Jen!