Thursday, June 20, 2024

Ferrell Family & Friends Reunion, Saturday, 6-15-2024: Party Room! (published 6-20-2024; article #480)


I wish that I had taken a few photographs. Someone should have. Welcome to the 127th article in the family topic section. This is also the 104th entry in the heritage section.

On Saturday, June 15th, family members and friends, ranging in age from 16 to 89, gathered together for a reunion. A good time was had by all! The location was the air-conditioned “party room” at Rogersville City Park, which is the larger of the two city parks listed on Parks and Recreation, Town of Rogersville, TN.

The Inspiration

Who started the party? The inspiration for the gathering was my phone conversation with “Uncle” Skyler and his mother, Shanna, on Skyler's 16th birthday earlier this month. Shanna, most recently highlighted in the 4/30/2022 article, wanted to get family members and friends together soon. Shanna planned the event, with a little help from me.

The four sons of Earl and Betty (Wood) Ferrell had not been together since Saturday, 7/3/2021. It was time. Life, such as it is, and distance should not excuse such gatherings. They need to be more frequent.

Three recent articles about occasions that included us brothers are as follows: The 7/7/2019 article, Ferrell Heritage: 1974 Photograph and 7-6-2019 Photograph, was a great time! The 7/26/2020 entry, Our Niece Passed on My Age "6" Birthday & Daily Life Continues, marked an unexpected, sad, and solemn event. The last time that the four of us got together was the focus of the 7/5/2021 article, Ferrell Family Gathering Fun, on Saturday, 7-3-2021.

The Party

Let's get this party started! Well, we did. The reunion party included a lucky 13 family members and three friends. That made a “sweet sixteen!”

Who showed up? They were Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and me (the oldest brother); Clark (my next-to-oldest brother) and his wife; Shanna (Clark's youngest daughter), her husband, and her 16-year-old son (whom I affectionately call “uncle,” even if I'm his great uncle); Clark's 19-year-old granddaughter (the daughter of Clark's oldest daughter, who passed away on 7/17/2020) and her friend; my next-to-youngest brother; my youngest brother, his wife, and their youngest daughter; my first Cousin Waymon, introduced in the 8/10/2023 article; and Bill, my friend since grade school, and his 89-year-young mother, whose upcoming birthday is on June 29th.

What did we eat? No one went hungry! Food of all types was aplenty. Let's see. There were homemade sloppy joes. (My wife got and followed Dorothy's recipe, mentioned in the 6/9/2024 article.) Fried chicken, mashed 'taters, and cold slaw were traditional southern staples. There were several side dishes. Dessert was fresh fruit and vegetables. What? Did no one bring a cake or pie? That's right. No one missed those sugary sweats.

What did we do? We talked. We joked. We told funny and true stories. We hugged each other. We older folk talked about and brushed off our “whatevers,” as I call various aches, pains, and health problems.

What stories did we tell? Well, there are too many to mention in this article. I'll share two, which involve Bill and me. His mother knew about the first one. She found out about the second one at the reunion! First, there's the story about when we boys were playing tag in the woods. I think there were five of us. Bill was “it,” and four of us were trying to tag him, before he reached the base. The base was an area where the tree line met a field. Bill was running down to the base. I was closest to catching him. The other three were running behind me. I saw Bill jump vertically and sideways into the air and heard him yell, “Snakes!” Right behind him, I didn't have time to stop. Looking down, I saw a bed of baby copperhead snakes! I hollered “snakes!” and jumped up and sideways! The three behind me had time to stop and carefully walk down around the snake bed. Thankfully, no one was snake-bitten! If it bites you, a baby copperhead can kill you quicker than an adult.

Bill's mother finally learned about the second story. Bill, our friend, Randy, and I were camping out in the woods one night. Clark and Bill's younger brother may have been with us. We had built a tree house that was in a field, close to Randy's parents' house. The tree house had a “deck” (a flat section of wood) outside a wall. A section of wall opened to the “deck.”

During the night, rain started to fall, and we didn't have our tents. We had a large metal tray, used for cooking. Well, sir, we decided to finish camping out in the dry tree house and to carry the campfire on that metal tray! Our plan was to put the fire, on the tray, on the tree house “deck.” We managed to get ourselves, our camping gear, and the fire on the tray to the tree house. I held the tray, with the fire on it, as I climbed the ladder up to the tree house.

What happened to the fire, you ask? At first, everything was fine. We had extra firewood. The fire, on the metal tray, was on the “deck.” We unrolled our sleeping bags and settled down to sleep in the dry tree house. The rain started falling harder. We were awakened, as raindrops hit us in the face. The roof leaked. We also smelled burning wood. The fire was so hot that the metal tray was burning through our “deck!” We kicked the tray and the fire off the “deck.” Thankfully, the wet ground put out the fire. We managed to sleep well enough, once we found fairly dry spots, under the leaking roof.

The next morning, once I was home, Mom asked me why my face was so blackened. Looking in a mirror, I saw how smoky and dark my face looked. I had to tell Mom the story. She was just glad that I hadn't set myself on fire. I didn't get a spanking.


A first cousin, who is 20 years older than me, minus a month, is enduring a critical health problem. I found out on Sunday, June 9th. My dear cousin wanted to have her daughter or granddaughter bring her to our reunion, if she felt up to it. I wish that she had. This article includes my written prayer to God that my dear cousin will be comforted and blessed, as her family and friends care for her. She knows the Lord.

Another first cousin, a year younger than me, and her family had planned to attend, but other priorities forestalled their plan. The gathering was not just for us, the four brothers, and our families. It was for all family members and any friends, who wanted to come. We want to plan another reunion in the fall. I hope that we do.

Life, such as it is, and distance should not keep family members and friends from getting together more often. Such earthly reunions are foretastes of the heavenly reunion that our family members and friends, who have passed to everlasting joy, are celebrating everlastingly.

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