Gail, Nola and i had been emailing each other for a while and had thought about having a “Walling” family reunion of descendants of the Walling family. I got rooms for Darlene, her kids, grandkids and Milton and I. Gail made arrangements to rent a park area.
Darlene and Misty brought Misty’s kids and stayed in the Ridpath with Milton and I the first couple of nights. I had got us rooms through Priceline bidding. The Ridpath had certainly seen better days but the rooms were quite adequate, especially when you consider that they brought all these kids with them. I don’t remember where Darlene’s son, Chris Tasker, and his family stayed. I don’t remember them staying at the same hotel with us but do remember them coming to the reunion and meeting Chris’ kids for the first time, who were now in their teens.
We stopped by Costco to pick up things to take to the reunion. For some reason, we bought some beer but apparently the Spokane park service had regulations about alcohol in their parks. I’m not even sure why we bought the beer since Milton and I don’t drink it and Darlene and her kids don’t drink it either. Roger doesn’t drink. So now, reflecting back on this reunion, I can’t remember at all why the beer was purchased in the first place. A while into the reunion, someone said something about beer and said they were going to go buy some. I pointed out that we already had some in the car, not thinking about the park rules. I think this might have caused some unnecessary stress for Gail as her name was on the park rental agreement. Thankfully, there were no problems about any of this.
The day was very nice. Kids played “shinny-stick.” There was a good turnout of cousins and family. Kathi Tarbert Storer and Deanna Tarbert came up from the Bay Area. Their Mother, Danise, was there and she is always pleasant and kind. Alec Emerson was welcoming and pleasant to us. Kathi, Deanna and Danise were their sweet selves. April was friendly. Roger played music with the group of musicians.
There were representatives of the Moore family that are politically very conservative like Jim Tarbert. Milton insists that he felt welcome and enjoyed the reunion but, maybe overly sensitive, I felt that some of the attendees were a bit aloof from Milton and I. Milton was the only person of color present and we are a gay couple and liberal Democrats.
I had brought dvd’s that I had made especially for this reunion that contained videos of family reunions in the 80’s that can be found on this site as well. These were gifts from the heart which Clifford quickly trampled over, bristling with hostility. When I went to give him the dvd that I had made for him, he seethed through his teeth, the first, last and only political statement of the day, “I listen to Rush Limbaugh and I believe what he says.” He took the dvd gift and mumbled a “thanks” and then avoided Milton and I for the rest of the day as did a few others.
Jim Tarbert showed up for a little while with his dogs. Apparently, he didn’t want to leave his dogs for very long. It was either Kathi or Deanna that told us that Jim loved his dogs more than his own children or grandchildren. He had never visited his daughters or grandchildren since he had moved back to Washington.
At one point during the reunion, Darlene walked too close to Jim’s car and the dogs visciously lunged toward her. They were confined by the car windows but they still startled Darlene.
I had an emotional moment, talking to Patricia Hammond. Of course we are genetically connected so it should not have been a surprise that I saw some of my Mother in her eyes. I had never really spent much time in my life with Patty but I felt like we had a moment or I had a moment of feeling “connected” through our d.n.a.. I saw my Mother in her face and in her eyes and my own eyes welled up with emotion.