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Hueberts Take Mahoney

October 7th, 2015

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Before the snow starts to fly in my neck of the woods I thought it might be a good idea to share our Huebert Family Summer Adventure with all of you out there in the blogosphere.

Some of you may remember my “Mahoney Day” post from way back in July of 2014. You know, the one describing the complete and total panic attack that I undergo every three years when it’s time to reserve cabins at Mahoney State Park for our Huebert Family Reunion. Well the time had come. On the second to the last weekend of July the Battle Cry of the Hueberts was sounded and family members began to converge on the banks of the Platte River to “TAKE MAHONEY STATE PARK!!!”

Of course the time I chose to “converge” on the Park was fashionably late. We weren’t allowed to pick up our cabin keys until 3 p.m. sharp on Sunday so Kris and I arrived at 2:30 p.m. much to the disappointment of our father who believed we should be there at least two hours in advance to greet family members. What he didn’t understand was many of them had come to the Park already in the morning to take advantage of the very busy swimming pool. And Kris and I knew we didn’t have a chance in H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS of beating the “Fossils” to the Park, I mean they are all up at the crack of dawn, or actually before dawn, so why even try? We were right on that one as both my Aunt Pat and Aunt and Uncle John and Adeline were sitting in the lobby of the Main Lodge waiting for us when we rolled in.

I had my clipboard in hand, like my Cruise Ship Director idol Julie McCoy, and went to see if there was any chance of checking in a bit early. Of course I was told no, but they did allow me to sign all of the paperwork in advance so all that was left to do was pick up the keys. The fact that they had paperwork for me caused me to let out a sigh of relief. My greatest fear was walking up to that front desk and being told “I’m sorry Ms. Pankratz, your five cabins and four lodge rooms are reserved for next weekend.”

After signing my life away I joined the cluster of women waiting in line at the front desk. There was a strange feeling of excitement in the air. Probably the same kind of feeling Black Friday shoppers outside of Target experience just before the doors open and they are trampled by crazy bargain hunters. Everbody seemed nervous and started jostling for position which was strange because we all knew there were cabins waiting for us but still, we kept our eyes glued to the clock above the desk. Finally the hand hit 3 p.m. and whoosshhh… a rush to the front desk. I held back trying to appear cool, I mean, I had already signed MY paperwork, let them think they had won. Finally I casually sauntered up to the desk and was awarded these…

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I think I actually said “Yes!!” under my breath and would have done a fist pump in the air if I  hadn’t been in the middle of a busy lobby. I stood and stared at those clunky, red keys for just a minute or two. I had pulled it off! I had done it again! I was an awsome Cruise Director.

I headed towards the front of the lobby and immediately saw our group had grown. Numerous cousins, along with my parents, had joined Pat, John and Adeline so I shifted into Cruise Director mode and started circling and labeling cabins on the Park map printouts I had found at the Information Center. Everybody that got a key got a map along with directions from me, while doing my best Julie McCoy impersonation, to their cabins. All that was missing was the feathered hair.

After handing out the final key Kris and I headed for our cabins to unload. Our cabinmates the Gaines’s were already there and the sight of two bikes strapped to their vehicle filled me with joy. They had signed up for our “BIG EVENT” which would be taking place the next day and had remembered to bring their bikes. Corey and Stac soon pulled up already having been to the swimming pool and we all entered our beautiful four-bedroom cabin at around the same time. It was awesome. We will never again settle for a two bedroom cabin, which means my job just got harder.

It had two huge bathrooms each with a decent shower and every bedroom had a full sink and vanity in it. And since Kris and Steve had decided to stay in the spare cabin across the road I got my very own room with a queen size bed. Ah, the life of luxury, no blow up air mattress for me this time around. The best part was the kitchen and living room area was huge. We would easily be able to host our opening night hamburger fry at the cabin instead of having to haul everything to a picnic shelter, good thing too, since I had forgotten to reserve a picnic shelter, whoops. Strike one against Julie McCoy.

Soon Marc, Kelli and Marli rolled in with load after load of coolers and Tupperware containers… the snacks had arrived…

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we all sat down and started sampling even though supper was only a few hours away…

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soon enough other family members and Fossils started stopping by. Many bringing with them a collection of lawn chairs…

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Our “Day Trippers” started rolling in as well. That’s Cruise Director lingo for the relatives who hadn’t rented a cabin but planned on coming for either the first night’s hamburger fry or the next night’s catered meal.

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Soon the big, long island in the kitchen was filled with hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salads, deviled eggs, baked beans and I could go on and on but most importantly, two different Fossils brought the Hershey-Marshmallow Fluff dessert that I only ever get at Huebert gatherings. SCORE!

Corey and I discovered two additional patio tables out on the screened-in porch and moved them into the living room and with the huge dining room table and the three picnic tables out front we had plenty of seating for everyone.

It was time to fire up the grill, and as always, the Grillmaster duties fell to Marc and Jerry…

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not sure how they ended up with that job but they seem to do it well enough. Everyone was asked to bring enough burgers or hot dogs to feed their individual families…

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and the grill soon filled up…

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thank goodness it was an extra large one.  Meanwhile back inside the cabin people were filling their plates…

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and starting to ask where the drink coolers were. Ahhh yes, the drinks. Did anybody remember to bring the big, giant Igloo drink dispensers full of water, lemonade and ice tea? You know, the ones we have at every single Huebert picnic. The ones that have been hauled out to many a cornfield during harvest. The ones whose spigots dispense at least two cups of water by drip, drip, dripping away while we enjoy our picnic meal. The yellow and red one that has a yellowing piece of masking tape on the lid that says “DO NOT LIFT” due to the fact that someone attempted to pick up said cooler by the handle on the lid one time, many moons ago, to only have their nice, new, shiny camper doused with a flood of ice water. Yes, those drink coolers. Everyone turned and looked at me. “What?” I said, “I was in charge of accomodations and PR. Food and drink were not in my job description.” Strike two against Julie McCoy. Luckily everyone had brought along individual drinks to stock their cabin refrigerators… no one died of thirst at the reunion.

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Marc and Jer continued to flip and fry for several hours…

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and when they were finally done Jerry informed us that the burgers had indeed all tasted exceptionally good because they had been seasoned with “eau de sweat” of the Jerry Huebert variety. Yum yum!

The weather cooperated with us the whole weekend so everyone was able to sit around outside for several hours and visit…

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that’s Kris and Steve’s cabin across the way…

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I’m sure a lot of farming and football is taking place in this circle. Except of course from the one in the lower right-hand corner. That’s Marc and I can tell by the tilt of his head that he’s sleeping.

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He’s still sleeping. We did all get to know little Callie …

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and her big brother Charlie…

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a little better. Although it was due to unfortunate circumstances. Their Grandpa Dale had been in a very serious car accident just the weekend before. And they, along with their mom Greta, had flown in from Georgia to be at his side. Things were pretty serious at that time so Dale’s brother John, his wife Lori and daughter Whitney along with Dale’s son Coby offered to take the little ones along to the reunion so that Dale’s wife Laura and Greta could focus on him.

We all missed Dale and Laura’s presence, especially when it came time to sing the Doxology before we ate. Laura, our church organist, and Dale, the owner of one of the most beautiful tenor voices ever heard, always start us off. Laura hadn’t even been sure if they would be able to make the reunion to begin with but had called me just two days before Dale’s accident to say they would take our extra cabin. The best laid plans…. Many a prayer was offered up on their behalf over the weekend.

We also were unfortunately missing my Uncle Lauren and Aunt Twila. Kris and I had texted Twila while heading home from our “Amazing Race Scouting Trip” (yes you read that right, “Amazing Race Scouting Trip”… more on that later) two days before the reunion. We wanted to explain to her how she would be helping us out once they got here from Kansas. She responded by saying they weren’t going to be able to make the trip due to Lauren over doing it and suffering from heat stroke. He later ended up having to be hospitalized. This also meant my cousin Joni, their daughter, wouldn’t be attending either. Dang, what a string of really bad luck.

As the night wore on we continued to try and entertain little Callie, who was surrounded by a whole lot of people she had never seen before. Thank goodness for Grandma Kelli, she had a bag full of toys stashed in her car…

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and no, Kelli doesn’t always drive around with bags full of toys in her car. She, Marc and Marli were heading straight to the Ozarks after our reunion to meet up with my niece Morgan and her family so Grandma Kelli was packed and ready for that trip as well. She’s a bit of an organizer… but SHE didn’t remember the drink dispensers either… just sayin…

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As night fell, the games started to come out. As everyone else sat around the cabin visiting…

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(those, by the way, are all of the Aunts, otherwise known as “Fossils” and they will absolutely love me for posting a picture of them) we played several rounds of “Catchphrase”…

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which is always entertaining. Then we moved on to Polish Canasta. A verrry large game of Polish Canasta. It involves a lot of cards, as you can tell…

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Not everyone made it past the first few rounds (yes I’m talking about you Lane and Reid) but Savannah did. Savannah, our youngest player, ended up schooling us all in Polish Canasta. Thank goodness it was finally her bedtime and she had to call it a night. Not long after we all decided to call it a night and shuffle off to our respective cabins. After all, we had a big day ahead of us… did I mention we would be running “The Amazing Race”? Huebert style? Yep that’s right, our very own version of “The Amazing Race”. Better stay tuned for my next installment of “Huebert’s Take Mahoney”. It’s a doozy!

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