Friday, July 19, 2013

Pete Family Reunion | Day Two - Visiting the Family Farm in Greenwood, Florida

Yesterday I wrote about our road trip from Atlanta, GA to Destin, FL for the Pete family reunion. Today I've asked my husband, Benjamin, to share a little about the history of the reunions and significance of this one in particular. I'm absolutely thrilled he agreed! You're in for a treat.
"The Pete Family Reunion. A tradition that was started biennial in 1983 and has continued on for 30 years. We've met all across the nation, from the small town of Manassas, Virginia to the bright lights of New York, New York. We've even visited the beautiful beaches of Nassau, Bahamas. As a child and into adulthood I've cherished the four days spent with my family visiting the local attractions, playing games, doing talent shows (yes, we've done talent shows), and just simply sitting around enjoying each other's company. 

This year was special to me for several reasons: I was able to introduce my wonderful wife and new son to my family. Also, we were going to take a trip out to the Pete family farm. Northwest Florida is the place where my great, great grandfather Alex Pete moved to after fighting in the Civil War. The farm was given to my grandfather by his father. It was there that my father and his eight siblings were raised. It has been over ten years since I had been to Greenwood, Florida and I wanted to make sure I took the time to soak everything in. I never met my great grand parents, but it amazes me that they were able to leave the legacy they did not far removed from the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era. My grandfather and grandmother raised nine children and are remembered by nineteen grand children and fourteen great grand children. There were four generations at the reunion this year. The oldest being my great aunt Maggie who is ninety-three years old and the youngest in attendance was my son, Benjamin III.

I take great pride in being named after my grandfather. Although my memories of him are few, they still stick with me to this day. I enjoy hearing my uncles, aunts, and older cousins tell stories about him. I remember sitting on his lap as he drove me around the farm in his truck and I remember that he always had a toothpick in his mouth. I would give anything to be able to sit with him for a day and pick his brain. I always knew that when I had a son I was going to name him Benjamin. It was important to me that his name lives on. That's what made this reunion special. It's as if everything had come full circle. I look forward to the responsibility God has given me in raising my son and building upon my family's legacy."
I have to admit that when he sent me what he'd written to post I got a little teary. Family is everything and I love that my family has grown to include such a great man and his amazing family. Friday morning we met outside the hotel at 9:00 am to board a bus that the family had chartered for the hour and a half ride to Greenwood. We'd very briefly debated taking the car seat and if I had it to do over again I would have. If anything it would have freed up my arms for 3 hours that day and Benjamin may have napped more comfortably. Who knows? The drive was actually pretty fun! We passed over that same stretch of water that we had coming in the previous evening. One of Ben's aunts had prepared a different BINGO game for us to play in each direction. Some of Ben's cousins played cards and the kids played various electronics. I mostly looked out the window...
Ben with his youngest sister, Karen.
I can't tell you how much I adore this photo!
Benjamin with his new favorite teether by The Bird & Elephant
>>PS - Don't forget to enter to win $20 store credit! Giveaway ends 7/21 @ 11:59 pm EST<<
The last home of Benjamin Pete.
Benjamin & Lossie Pete with their 9 children (including my Ben's father)
Riding country in the back of the truck around the property.
Formerly the convenience store that Benjamin Pete owned.
The corner of BenAlexMag (Ben's grandfather and two siblings) & Petes. Pretty awesome, huh?
I missed a lot of the fun outside but Ben had my camera to capture it. I was in the air conditioned house with the baby trying to help him nap but he only napped about 25 minutes the entire day we were there. Can you say craaaanky? We were due to leave the farm at 5:00 but ended up leaving at 4:30. The sky opened up and it was pouring when we all ran back to the bus. The rain came down quickly and by the time we got back to the hotel it was clear, blue skies. We decided to check out the private beach across from the hotel before dinner.
It was GORGEOUS! The sand, oh the sand. I've never seen such white beaches. It was so beautiful and warm. My first time at the Gulf of Mexico. Baby Benjamin's first time at any beach. I think it's safe to say that he liked it.
Next week I'll share our full day at the beach! Have a great weekend, friends!!

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