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?
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.