Family Reunion in Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas.

Today we started driving from Rockwall (in the north-central part of the state), and we traveled six hours north and west to the panhandle — at almost 80 miles per hour — and we still have a couple more hours of Texas roads tomorrow morning before we get out of the state! Texas is a big deal.

We’re stopped for the night in Amarillo, and our hotel is right next to a restaurant called The Big Texan. The Big Texan advertises a free 72 ounce (six pound!) steak dinner to anyone who can finish it in an hour. And the restaurant itself is a sprawling complex of dining space, arcade games, gift shop souvenirs, and other western Americana. It’s pretty amazing.

The reason we came to Texas was for a family reunion. And it was a pretty big deal, too. My mom’s extended family has been organizing these reunions every 3-5 years for as long as I can remember. A different branch of the family takes responsibility for each reunion — and this time it was organized by the family of my great-uncle Paul, most of whom have settled in Texas.

There were almost 200 of us. We ate lots of food. We spent a day at a water park. We swam in the hotel pool almost every day. We sang a lot of songs in four-part harmony. And, of course, we had lots of conversations catching up on everything that’s happened since the last family reunion.

I appreciate the Liechty Family for its industrious approach to life, business, and ministry. I appreciate the family’s extravagant generosity and hospitality. I appreciate the way we have fun with each other. And I appreciate the way that the family reunites every so often, creating space for connection with distant relatives and with close relatives (I especially enjoy getting together with all the descendants of my parents, “The Jans”).

Our family is not perfect (who’s family is?), but I still think we’re pretty great. And I’d have to say that our reunion in the Great State of Texas was pretty great, too.

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