Montrose's family reunion
By: [unknown]

Friday August 4, 2000 through Monday August 7, 2000.

I know that this story doesnít deal with a four-wheel drive club but it does deal with one of the clubís ideals, family.

Sunday, August 6, 2000 was Kathyís Fatherís birthday. He turned the ripe young age of 87! Kathyís half-sister, Sherry, decided to have a Ďsurpriseí birthday party for him. Sherry told all of the siblings. All of this started out to be a surprise family reunion to be held in October. Sherry decided to change the date to Dadís birthday.

Now Sherry lives in Wyoming, Don lives in Arizona, Mimi lives in Rockport Massachusetts, Beth lives in Kaleva, Michigan, and Bill lives in Lexington Kentucky. The original plans changed the week before his birthday! Everyone but Bill was able to make it in for the party.

Yes, there is a story here otherwise why would I be typing it!

Kathy called her Dad six days before his birthday and asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner. Sherry thought about going out for dinner, a seafood dinner. Dad (Ralph) is from Gloucester, MA. You know the homeport of a fishing vessel called the Andrea Gail, the fishing vessel from the book and movie ďThe Perfect StormĒ. Ralph said that he wanted lobster, and scallops

Kathy and I started writing down how many lobsters we would need. Letís see there would be Sherry, her daughter Debby, Don, Mimi, Kathy, Bill, Ralph, Florence (wife/mother), and Tom. Nine lobster. I started to panic. I never cooked a whole lobster before, let alone nine of them! I knew someone that used to cook for Charlieís Crab, a really good seafood restaurant run by Chuck Muir. This person is close to me as his wife is too. I called Jeff and told him what was going on and also told him that I am in a panic! How would he and Margaret like to come out for dinner on Sunday and also cook it! He would have to check with Margaret. Hmm, if they decide to come out that would be two more lobsters. Who cares we needed the help!

This was up to Wednesday. We didnít know that Beth would be able to make it down until Saturday night. Kathy and I kept going over the dinner menu for Sunday. I kept calling Jeff to see if they were coming out and where we would get the lobster, other from Meijers. A friend at work told me about a seafood company in Royal Oak called The Seafood Company. I called them on Friday to find out how much lobsters are. They told me that the little ones are $9.99 a pound and $12.99 a pound. I said thank you very much, hung up the phone, and then picked myself up of the floor.

So far the menu is this. Lobster, salmon steak, orange roughy, sea scallops, mussels, red skins potatoes and corn on the cob, cole slaw, garlic bread, cake and ice cream for dessert. By this time I was in a major panic for several reasons. One: never cooked lobster, orange roughy, sea scallops, and mussels before. I never cooked for that many people before and I was meeting a few of Kathyís family members that I never met before.

Finally on Friday night I was able to relax. Jeff called me and told me that they were coming for dinner. I was very relieved. He told me what to get, what to look for in the lobster, and how to cook the corn on the grill. Something that I have seen done but never actually did it myself. I was very glad that Jeff and Margaret were coming out. For this though Kathy and I owe Margaret big, VERY BIG!

Saturday morning. Kathy and I get up and have our morning coffee and plan our day. We would go to Royal Oak first and get the seafood. Then we would go to Meijers and get the rest of the menu. The phone rings. Itís Kathyís brother Bill. He wonít be able to make it because his calipers on his brakes keep heating up. He called me to ask me for any ideas. Imagine that. A guy that has worked on cars all his life asks me for any ideas. I told him that I donít work on cars. He thought that because I four wheel drive that I know how to work on them! Wrong! Before we left I called the Seafood Company to make sure that we would be able to get nine lobsters, preferably females. I called. I went back to a panic mode. They didnít get their shipment of lobsters for Saturday! Back to getting them at Meijers. Hope that they are good! Anyway, we went to the Seafood Co. and picked up the salmon steaks for Kathy, John, and me. The orange roughy was for Florence. We got two pounds of mussels, and five pounds of sea scallops.

Next stop is to get ice for the cooler to keep the seafood cold until we get home. I wanted to bring two coolers but Kathy said one would be enough. I will be going on my own instincts next time!

The stop after ice was to Costco. We needed some stuff there but I donít remember what. After that we went to Meijers in Wixom. We were able to get all of the lobster there along with the rest of the menu.

We get back home and I start to cut the grass. Not only my yard but the neighbors yard too. He is out of town and asked me to cut his grass for him too. Two hours later I am done cutting the grass. Jeff calls. Wants to know what and how much we have for dinner on Sunday.

I told him that we have nine lobsters, three salmon steaks, orange roughy, sea scallops, mussels, and 12 ears of corn soaking in a five gallon bucket of water for the grill. He said that he would make the cole slaw and bring the bread and pick up more corn. While I was talking to him the phone beeps, call waiting. I tell Jeff to hold on. I answer the other line and itís Kathyís Mom. I beep back to Jeff and tell him that I will call him back.

An hour later, maybe not that long but it sure seemed like it, Kathy tells me that Beth and Jo Lyn are coming down. Remember this is Saturday night around 6:30p.m. I call Jeff back and tell him that we have two more people coming. He said that is okay Ďcause we had a cancellation earlier in the day.

Again, we go back to what we have and what we donít have. After talking to Jeff and getting a game plan I feel better again. Jeff told me that they would be here around 12:00 to 12:30 on Sunday.

In Kathyís own words ďThis is where it starts to get ĎfuníĒ.

After driving to Royal Oak, Livonia, Wixom, and cutting the grass I was pretty tired. I went to bed around 11:30. Kathy went to bed sometime after I did.

At 1:45, Saturday night, the phone rings. Kathy answers it. Itís Florence. Beth is broke down in Clare at a Marathon gas station. Something to do with no lights, or dimming lights. There is a guy that is working on it and that he might be able to fix it. Beth will call us back if he canít fix it. Well, it is about two hours to Clare. I tell Kathy that we might as well go on the premise that he canít fix the car and that we should start driving to pick her up. She agrees. Kathy calls Beth back and tells her that we are on our way.

You know there isnít much traffic on the expressways at 2:30 in the morning! We get to Clare around five. I work on the car, why I donít know, but I do. We get it running with the help of a nice gentleman (not me) and are on our way.

I told Beth the route we are going. I donít think that she remembered. We are on the expressway and I keep one eye on the road and one eye on Beth. I think that Beth is weaving but not sure. I tell Kathy to watch her. She agrees, Beth is weaving. And then Beth did something that we do on night runs Ė goes to stealth mode! Then the lights come on. Well, before we left our house I packed the portable CB radio, and two family radios. We tell Beth to take the next exit. She does. We left the car at another Marathon station only this one was closed. We left a note on the car saying that it is broke down and that we will be back to get it. A not so quick unpack of Bethís car and we were back on the road again. By this time it is around 6:30 Sunday morning.

We get home without further delays. By this time it is about 8:30 and I am bushed. I go to sleep before my head hits the pillow. In just a few hours this house will be invaded by a lot of people that are expecting a New England style dinner. I am grateful that Jeff and Margaret are coming out to help. I set my alarm for 10:00.

Ten oíclock rolls around. Kathy is coming to bed as I am getting up. I have things to do before Jeff gets here and I want to be sure that I have them done. Kathy sleeps for about an hour. I have no idea what she did or what she was doing before she came to bed. I let Kathy sleep until 11:15. When I went to wake her up and she looks at the clock to see the time, she was like a speeding bullet coming out of that bed. I am just glad that I wasnít in her way!

Well, the rest of the day went pretty smooth. Jeff and Margaret got here around one. Otherís started showing up around 1:30 or so. Jeff performed his cooking skills like a master chef. Everyone really enjoyed the lobster, especially Ralph. He definitely knew what to do with a lobster. We had more than enough food. If there was anyone that was still hungry it was there own fault.

People started leaving. It was by 9:30 or so that Kathy and I had the house to ourselves. We did the clean up of dessert and went to bed. I had called my boss earlier in the evening to ask for Monday off. He said no problem. I knew that we would have to get Beth back home or at least back to her car.

Kathy told her Mom that she would be over around nine in the morning. I said yea, right. This was about the time we woke up! We showed up around eleven. The rest of the family was there for one last visit before they all left for home. After the cameraís came out and family pictures were taken they were on their way.

Kathy and I talked about how to get Beth and Jo Lyn back. I came up with the idea of borrowing Billís (Paquetteís) tow dolly. I called the house, no answer. I called Billís work. Bill is out for the week. Then I remember that he was going to be out of town. I call Paulís (Phelps) house to see if he knew anyone that might have a dolly that I can borrow. Paul told me that Rick had one. I figured that Rick would be at work and wouldnít be able to reach him.

Next plan is to call U-Haul and see if they have one near where the car is

The U-Haul in Mt. Pleasant doesnít have one. We finally found one in Alma but it needed to be back that night. I told the guy that wasnít going to be a problem, as we had to come back this way anyway. I told him to hold on to it that we would be up later this afternoon.

We get to Alma, hook up the dolly after buying a receiver, ball and light adopter, an additional $40. We find out that the lights donít work. I figure that we would be back by dark and wonít need lights.

At one thirty on Monday afternoon we were on our way. By four thirty we had the car on the dolly. By six thirty we had the car off the dolly. And at eight thirty we dropped the dolly off, before dark, just barely.

We didnít get home until after midnight. I was able to go to work on Tuesday, how I donít know.

Oh, did I tell you that I was caught in the gas line break on US-23 Friday night? I left work at four oíclock and didnít get home until 7:15! Wonder if that was an indication of how my weekend was going to go!

Family reunions, arenít they fun, but they are worth it! We are already looking forward to next years birthday party so that we can do all of this again. Well, not quite all of it!