Members of the Prohaska and Lindley families gathered for a photo following the 50th anniversary celebration for my aunt and uncle, Doris and John Palmer, on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Wykoff Community Center. It was the first time many of us had been all together for many years.
Members of the Prohaska and Lindley families gathered for a photo following the 50th anniversary celebration for my aunt and uncle, Doris and John Palmer, on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Wykoff Community Center. It was the first time many of us had been all together for many years.
I have made no secret of the fact my family means a great deal to me. I have many cousins who are like siblings and my aunts and uncles are like additional parents. While our Vander Plas clan gathers every year, sometimes twice a year, my Prohaska family is not able to gather as often due to greater geographic distances.

However, a few weeks ago, when my aunt and uncle, Doris and John Palmer, celebrated their 50th anniversary, many from that side of the family gathered to celebrate with them.

Their children, John Daniel, Jim and Jerry, traveled from Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas and drove to Minnesota to surprise them on Friday, Oct. 4, the day of their anniversary. I was fortunate enough to be there when they arrived and enjoyed watching my aunt's and my uncle's faces when the three boys walked around the side of the campground office. I was moved to tears as my aunt tried to wrap her arms around all three of them at once. It was fun to have been part of the planning which brought them so much joy.

Another surprise was a party to be held on Saturday afternoon at the Wykoff Community Center. Campers from Maple Springs Campground, neighbors, friends and members of our extended family enjoyed a potluck dinner and dessert while visiting and getting caught up.

It was especially wonderful to be able to spend time with my Prohaska cousins, as we literally could not remember the last time we had all been together. Even though there are only seven of us, we wondered if we had ever been all together - and if we had - it must have been when we were children.

When we took a family photo, four generations were represented, from my Great Aunt Betty to my nieces and nephews. It was so fun for all of us to finally be together again.

It was sometimes difficult to explain our connections to my nephew, Joshua, when he asked why we were hugging these "strangers." He seemed to understand or at least pretended to because he was soon trading knock knock jokes with my cousins.

I'm so glad my cousins and my mother were able to pull off this surprise for my aunt and uncle. It was definitely a special weekend and one they deserved for reaching this wonderful milestone in their marriage. I hope they realize how much we all love them and how glad we were to be part of their celebration.

Next year, my own parents will be celebrating their golden anniversary, but rather than a party, they have expressed an interest in going on a family vacation with my brother's family, my sister's family and me. While I agree this kind of celebration will be a lot of fun, part of me thinks we may need to do both the vacation and a party so we have another reason to gather with all the cousins and family members.

However, on second thought, we really shouldn't have to have a reason to get together with family, should we? Maybe that is the greatest lesson we can learn.