Fun Fathers & Sons Campout

This year I bravely and willingly attended the stake Fathers and Sons Campout, mainly because it will be John’s last one before he goes on his mission. You may know that I’ve actually bribed Bob and John in the past not to go on these campouts, employing bribes from matinee movies to cold hard cash. But this year I was more than happy to go!

On Friday, May 30, John got everything ready and had the Explorer loaded up by mid-afternoon. We took off at about 5 p.m. and made it to Zion’s Camp at Far West by dinner time. I was very impressed that the stake Young Men presidency had everything so organized, with a truck taking our gear down to the site, parking attendants, etc.

We had a great time that evening, and I was able to address the group as a member of the stake presidency (President Morgan was in Australia and President Foley was home with his wife and Sage). John and I also were able to tend President Morgan’s two boys, JJ and Caleb, that evening and part of the next morning. They are great boys and we were more than happy to spend time with them.

John played Capture the Flag that night with a bunch of other young men while I visited with other dads around the camp fire. This was also the first time that John was able to use his hammock that he bought earlier this year for his upcoming high adventure. He set it up near our tent and it worked great. I, of course, had an air mattress inside our tent (I admit I’m a wimp when it comes to camping), and JJ and Caleb slept on a larger air mattress next to me.

The next morning we had an awesome breakfast–again provided by our stake Young Men presidency–and then packed up our gear. I had a lot of work I had to do back at the office, so we didn’t stay too much longer that morning. We made it home safe and sound and, after I took a shower, I had a nice long nap! 🙂


Rebecca, Mom’s Birthday, and Memorial Day

One of the big events in May is, of course, Mom’s birthday! And it’s always fun because Mom’s birthday is often around Memorial Day–and this year, it was ON Memorial Day! And this year was especially fun because Rebecca was home for the weekend.

Rebecca couldn’t come out to the Call Family Reunion due to work commitments, but with Memorial Day weekend later in May, she was able to come back then. She flew in late on Friday, 22 May. . .she was supposed to arrive at about 11:15 p.m. or so, but her plane was really late (due to weather in Denver). I think she arrived at about 1:15 a.m. or so.

She and I stayed at a hotel there in Liberty that night, and early the next morning I dropped Rebecca off at the YSA conference that she was here for. I was asked to say a few words to open the conference, and then I came back home and took a nap! But Rebecca reported that the conference was a lot of fun, and we’re glad she was able to go to it.

The conference concluded on Sunday, and I was able to attend the testimony meeting and then take Rebecca to our Wood Heights Ward afterwards so she could ride home with Mom, Mary Ann, and John. I then headed back to the stake center for my meetings, and made it home at about 7:00 or so that night.

We combined Mom’s birthday and Memorial Day to have a delicious cookout. We had decided the week before to get a small charcoal grill as an early Fathers Day present for me, and so I set it up and had a great time grilling. I think I heard a slogan on a TV commercial a few months ago promoting charcoal grilling. It was something like, “Slow down and grill.” I decided that’s what I really wanted to do. . .after years of buying various gas grills–and after leaving our gas grill in Illinois, at least partly by accident–the thought of taking my time and grilling the old-fashioned way sounded very appealing to me.

But I had forgotten how much longer it takes to grill with charcoal! We definitely waited longer than usual for our burgers, but they were certainly worth it. Not only was the good ol’ charcoal taste delicious, but the Longhorn ground beef was out of this world.

Of course, we also surprised Mom with a wonderful gift. She had seen a china set at an antique store up in Jamesport during the reunion, and I secretly made a deal and purchased it for her. I had driven up to Jamesport to get it on Saturday morning, and John helped me hide it in various nooks and crannies for the rest of the weekend. Rebecca helped me wrap a single teacup as a present, and it was really fun watching Mom’s reaction as she opened it that afternoon. She is always very happy to get beautiful old pieces of china–even individual pieces–but she was a bit confused. She asked if there was a plate to go with the teacup, and we all had a good laugh as she politely looked for more pieces inside the small box. But then we brought out the big boxes of china, and she was just overwhelmed. It was a lot of fun.

Rebecca was able to stay until Wednesday morning, when she caught the 6:30 a.m. flight back to Denver, then on to Salt Lake City. We are so glad she was able to spend so much time with us here in Missouri!


Bob: Call Family Missouri Reunion 2014

I had a blast at the reunion this year! It was great to see grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins, and of course Mom, Dad, Rachel & Anthony, Mary Ann, and John! Flying out a few days early and staying a few days afterward only added to the good times. Seeing all the church history sites—Far West, Liberty, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Richmond, and Independence—with the extended family was a lot of fun. Hearing the stories about these historical sites is one thing, but to be standing right where it all happened places a whole new perspective on it all. I think everyone had fun seeing these places and learning a bit more about our religious and family heritage. Typically, each day was filled with playing games, seeing church sites, visiting with each other, and enjoying delicious meals—simply put, having a good time.

Although Dad was sick for part of the reunion, all of the planning and preparation that he and Mom did really paid off. I really enjoyed the presentation of the quotes, flowers, and painting to Grandpa and Grandma, I think it was a hit.

The reunion was a much needed break from work and school. Thanks for such a good time!


Dennis & Connie Call Family Reunion

The long-awaited Dennis & Connie Call Family Reunion finally arrived, and all who attended had a. . .well. . .let me correct that. . .overall, it was a great success. But for those of us who were down with the stomach flu, it was not real fun!

Our own family’s adventure started when Rachel and Anthony arrived the week before the reunion. Anthony’s school schedule and the cost of airfare had the two of them arriving in the early afternoon of Friday, 2 May. Mom and I picked them up and took them to lunch at Just a Little Barbecue Joint in Independence. Their food is so good! We saw a couple sites and then came home to Richmond. It is always so great to have Rachel and Anthony with us!

The next morning, John, Anthony and I worked really hard at doing more work around the house in preparation for the reunion. We put built and put up a center beam in the pole barn, painted some fencing, etc. It was a bit frantic but we were able to get a lot done on Saturday and the following Monday.

Late Saturday night, Bob arrived. It was wonderful to have him home as well. President Morgan was kind enough to excuse me from many of my meetings on Sunday, but I did to make some rounds to various units before ending up back in Richmond with the family. That afternoon, Bob and I went to a commemoration/reenactment of the Twelve departing from Far West on April 26, 1839 (it had been postponed from the prior Sunday due to weather), and then the two of us took the Explorer in to the Fairfield Inn at the airport for Brooke and Steve to use starting on Monday. We made it back later that night and had a great time catching up with all the family.

On Monday, Grandmother and Grandpa’s family all started to arrive. The following several days were filled with all sorts of fun, games, site seeing, shopping, and socializing. Except for those of us who were sick! I pretty much missed most of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday due to the illness. Many of Aunt Denalee’s family were ill too, especially Bryan. Poor people!


Rachel and Anthony flew back to Utah on Wednesday, so Mom took them in to Liberty so that she and Rachel could shop at 1/2 of 1/2 before they went to the airport. They made it back safe and sound later that night. We are so grateful they were able to join us!

Sadly, we received word at the beginning of the week of Aunt Lucille’s passing. Grandmother and Grandpa Call flew out to Idaho, leaving the reunion a day early, to be at the funeral.  We are so sorry about Aunt Lucille, and we are equally sorry that our grandparents had to leave early.

Fortunately, however, the program we had planned for Friday night was easily moved to Thursday. I had ordered flowers for Grandmother and had them delivered on Thursday for safety, so I’m glad I did that. Uncle Darryn ran the program on Thursday night, which I understand went very well. After presenting one flower and one memory or comment for each posterity to Grandmother, along with a framed poster of the comments, Darryn also presented Grandpa with a framed, limited-edition, signed and numbered print. It was done by Matt Kesler, a member of our stake who is an artist with Hallmark Cards.

On Saturday, I was finally able to make it back to the reunion and at least sit there while everyone else cleaned up! 🙂 From everything I’ve heard, it was a great reunion and everyone had a wonderful time.