The Relatives Came

This past weekend, two of my favorite summer events took place: the 4th of July and our Glienke Family Reunion. What’s a Glienke (pronounced glink-ee)? If you don’t live in NW Iowa, that is a reasonable question. My mom’s maiden name is Glienke, so my brothers and I are Glienke’s, along with 9 aunts and uncles, 39 of our first-cousins, their children, their children’s children, and, yep … it’s a big family! Of course, we consider all the spouses to be Glienke’s (they might not …).

Every year, we gather from near and far (mostly near but some travel from all over the country) for a potluck meal, laughter, games, hugs, stories, hymns and prayer. This event takes place in the basement of a country church which has been a home for our family since my grandfather immigrated from Germany.

Did I mention we eat?

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You know those 8-foot tables? We have two for main dishes and sides and two for dessert.

I LOVE these people!

This year, my mom, sisters-in-law and I decided to supply the German food of our heritage: bratwurst and sauerkraut, sauerbraten, German potato salad, cucumbers and onions, beer bread, braunschweiger, beet pickles and apple cake with warm butter sauce. We marked them with little German flags.

A lot of memories are shared in a few short hours. We probably tell the same ones every year. Tables of old photographs and documents are on display. This year we played Glienke Jeopardy … a little competition is good for the soul. The food also pays tribute to our memories. My cousin makes the “potato puff” recipe our grandmother use to make, and my mom makes currant cream pies every year in my grandmother’s memory.

There were 81 of us gathered together in that church basement. Each year, we likely have new little babies and new spouses to meet. We are often missing some who passed away since our last gathering. But we know that is okay, too. They will have gone to join the eternal Glienke Reunion in heaven. I can only imagine how awesome that is.

I just hope there will be currant cream pie.

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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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