On Saturday we all went out to the beach after lunch for the Patterson Olympics, which is even sillier than it sounds. Simon and Jonah ran it, and we had relay races, an egg toss, a booey toss, played Simon Says, did a human knot, and played this game where you close your eyes, find someone else, and have to guess who they are without making noise. The big scandal (if you can call it that) was Uncle Bob having his team cheat in the ball-on-a-spoon relay race—he stuck a piece of gum on the spoon and stuck the ball to it, so they were disqualified and doomed to live a life of shame. The best part of that race, though, was Aunt Kris. She was on my team, with Aunt Kelsey and Uncle Matt, and she looked like such a ridiculous old lady walking along with her spoon that it may have been the funniest thing to happen all weekend:
This caused half of us to nearly die laughing:
Tobin and Whitney and I agreed that, slowly but surely, Aunt Kris is becoming Grandmother Patterson.
(all the girls after winning a relay)
(Jonah's awesome cape)
(my Dad being very worried about his spoon, and Simon making him nervous)
(Aunt Kelsey tossing her buoy)
(David and Nicolai, buoy toss winners)
(human knot, taken by Jonah)
(I think these are the funniest pictures ever)
(Aunt Kim won)
After dinner on Saturday night we watched more Olympics and played Scattergories, the highlight of which was Aunt Kim completely misunderstanding the game and instead of going down the list, answering each of the 11 topics with a word that started with “I”, just sticking with the first topic “Boy’s Names,” and coming up with 11 boy’s names:
It was pretty funny. Even Dad came over to play Scattegories, and he ended up really enjoying it because he could show off his ridiculous knowledge of inane things.
Sunday morning we lazed around, watching Olympics and playing “Cornhole,” which is essentially the Bean Bag Toss except for Riley’s mandate that you had to yell “CORNHOLE!” every time you got a bag in the hole. It made the whole thing much more… sophisticated. Whitney, Kim, and Tobin and I also played cards with Riley and Micah, which was fun. This is really the first year that I’ve bonded with those two—they’d always been kind of young, and didn’t really know who I was since I really only saw them once a year at Thanksgiving. But now they’re super talkative, especially Riley, and fit right in with the rest of the chaos at the reunion. Micah even kind of became my photography protégé… he took almost as many pictures with my camera as I did that weekend. He really seemed to enjoy it, so I let him go to it, as long as he had the safety strap around his neck. Here’s some of his artwork:
(Alex and MacKenzie)
(Willa Marie, me, and Whitney... and Simon, sort of)
Sunday afternoon there was a Botchy Ball tournament on the beach, which I didn’t take part in but went to take pictures of.
I ended up playing with Jessica and Willa Marie down by the water, where they were making drip castles and “antelope soup.”
(I like this photo because it reminds me of this picture, of Willa when she was a baby on the same beach.)
Willa is just at my absolute favorite age: three and not quite four. She’s really into super heroes, and acts out super hero battles all the time. I sat down in the sand with them, not really caring that my butt would get kind of wet being on the wet sand, and then a huge wave came in and completely soaked me from the waist down. It seemed silly to go back up to the house and change immediately, because I would probably just get wet again, so I stuck it out for awhile… but after heading to the dry sand to bake cupcakes with Willa, I was also totally covered in sand. No good. I went to change, and then headed back down to find Simon and David about to go out in the water in Simon’s wave canoe:
Matt Scheffer went in, too—Matt Scheffer is David and Tobin’s cousin on their dad’s side, and he lives in Portland, so he came down with Dave and Jessica for a few days. (By the way, David and Tobin's dad is Uncle Owen, who didn't come to the reunion because he's running for Supervisor in San Francisco and his campaign was keeping him busy.) Matt goes to Lewis&Clark and is a nice guy, and really got along well with Riley and Micah. We had a lot of fun down by the water.
(Nicolai is 37 and still excited that she has boobs)
Afterwards Willa Marie and I played Pirates, which is something I hadn’t done since my Pac Prim days, on a giant piece of driftwood. I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately, but I do have a picture of her and Aunt Kennedy playing Leopards, and you can probably extrapolate what playing Pirates looked like from that:
Later we went back to the volleyball court and once again had it all to ourselves (perhaps word had spread that we were in town for the weekend). Micah went to town with my camera while I played:
(this is fairly representitive of our games- Uncle Steve falling over, lots of people around the ball and nobody actually hitting it)
We went back for dinner, and afterwards, we had the infamous Patterson Family Untalent Show…
This tradition started at our last reunion two years ago. I don’t know whose idea it was, but after one talent show I had already run out of talents. In the first one, Taylor and I showed off the unique gifts we’d been given from the Shaw side of our family: we are double jointed, and can do weird things with our tongues like fold them into clovers. This year, though, neither of us had anything to do- as I said, we’re the quiet ones in the family. Not so for the rest of the group, though! David was the emcee, like last time, and Aunt Kris and Tobin got things started with a ridiculous bang. Tobin shaved off his beard, dyed his remaining, handlebar moustache black, and sang a Mexican-esque Ween song (I don’t know how else to describe it) about somebody killing his brother, or something. Aunt Kris was planning on playing the piano for the solo in the middle, but nobody had one, so she found a kazoo and played along with it. She had told everyone not to laugh, because she didn’t want to crack up in the middle, but she was the one who was laughing from the very beginning. It was completely ludicrous, but awesome at the same time.
Then Jessica, Dave and Willa Marie acted out a story called “Why Girl Lions Don’t Have Manes.” I will tell you this: Willa has acting in her blood, and if this keeps up she’s going to be some sort of ingénue ten years from now. David was a theater major at Northwestern and he and Jessica went on to start a puppetry and theater company in Chicago; Jessica is a well-known theater director in Chicago and, increasingly, across the country; and Jessica’s mom, Mary Ann Thebus, is a stage actress in Chicago and oh yeah, was Rudy’s mom in Rudy. Anyway, the story was cute, and Willa was clearly having a great time being in the spotlight, despite bonking her nose in the middle of the performance and crying for a couple minutes.
(By the way, how frickin' cute is Willa??)
Then Micah did armpit farts, which I think is pretty self explanatory:
Then Aunt Kennedy played the recorder, sort of-- she was mostly laughing the entire time:
Matt then challenged Simon Weaver to an arm wrestling match, which was funny because Matt is this scruffy skinny kid, and Simon is Mr. Muscley Athletic Guy. The match was rigged, of course, but I don't think the little kids knew that, and they were psyched that Matt beat the great Simon Weaver.
Next Uncle Bob, who in the last reunion's talent show had sung a sexy sort of song with Aunt Karen that he learned in his frat, got up and sang another song, this time using my mom as a model. It was about a girl with tattoos all over her body, and my mom was clearly embarassed, but I think she enjoyed it.
Next MacKenzie and Alex sang a song, with Tobin accompanying them on the guitar, that I have never heard and wasn't particularly good, but which Mac clearly loved. It was ok, I guess, and Alex can really sing and MacKenzie doesn't have a bad voice.
Alex also sang a song by herself, which was very impressive and gutsy (Alex is kinda shy). She's in chorus at her school and it totally shows:
(well, it shows in her voice, I guess you can't really tell by this picture)
The next "talent" takes a little explaining. See, my mom and her sisters grew up in the 50's and 60's in Portland, which is the City of Roses. Every year there's a Rose Festival and Rose Parade, and girls (and maybe boys) from all the high schools are nominated to be in the Rose Court, and from there to possibly be Rose Queen. Most of the sisters were in the Rose Court at some point (I don't think Aunt Karen was for some reason), but none of them were ever Queen. Aunt Kennedy, though, got pretty close- the year she was up for Rose Queen, the announcer opened the paper with the winner's name on it, and announced "And the Rose Queen is Kennedy... oh no wait... we have a tie!" She and some other girl had tied for Queen, so they had a run-off, and in the end Aunt Kennedy lost. She said it scarred her for life. So Tobin and David came up with the idea to restage the Rose Parade during the talent show and crown Aunt Kennedy Rose Queen:
Aunt Kennedy cried-- she has a reputation as the Aunt Who Always Cries.
Then Nicolai performed a "rap" she wrote about all the people in our family at the reunion... she did the same thing two years ago, and it's really funny and completely dorky because Nicolai is pretty much the least gangsta person you'd ever hope to meet. Tobin, jack of all trades, accompanied her as Human Beatbox:
Unexpectedly, Uncle Simon then got up and sang a song acapella, reading the words off Simon Weaver's blackberry. It was a love song of some sort, and it was very sweet. Uncle Simon, having no Patterson blood in his veins, can actually sing. The lion and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, propped up behind Uncle Simon unbeknownst to him during the song (see picture), are kind of a running joke from the last reunion- something to do with Uncle Simon, but I don't remember exactly what (as noted before, I was kind of out of it at the last reunion):
Then Jonah and Tobin did a sort of improv routine that we had brainstormed in the car on the drive north. The idea had come up thus: Tobin asked the rest of us if we ever wondered what it would be like if Aunt Karen had married Uncle Owen and Aunt Kris had married Uncle Bob, instead of the other way around. The Kris/Bob part of the equation is fairly normal, but the part that had us all dying in the car was the idea of Karen and Owen married to each other. Aunt Karen, you see, is very high-energy, enthusiastic and talkative and always taking pictures and videotaping and organizing and constantly go-go-go-go. She wakes up every Saturday morning and goes Garage Saleing, designs sweatshirts for the high school she works at, bakes constantly, works for her church, etc etc etc etc. Uncle Owen, on the other hand, is gruff and grumpy and critical, likes to talk about politics and science, and finds a lot of the Patterson shenanigans to be silly. The two would have NEVER gotten married, which is why it was so funny in the car when Tobin, who does an uncanny impression of his dad, and Jonah, who has his mom pretty much down pat, started imagining scenarios the two of them might be in.
This devolved into their improv game, of sorts, where people called out scenes for Karen and Owen to be in, such as waterskiing:
(I love the expression Jonah makes when immitating his mom- it's pretty perfect.)
Then they invited anyone else up to jump into the scene, being a different member of the family. For example, here is David being Willa Marie:
and Whitney being Aunt Kennedy:
And finally, Aunt Karen had us do a medley of activities, which wasn't exactly a talent, but was fun (and were the rest of them really talents?). Micah and Riley, and then Jonah and Matt, went up against each other in Chubby Bunny, wherein you take turns putting marshmallows in your mouth and trying to say "chubby bunny" until one of you can't do it anymore (we used to play this at Camp and it's hilarious):
Then Aunt Karen had me, Nicolai and Alex come up and each eat three Saltines. Whoever could whistle first after eating the Saltines with no water was the winner... and I won! Good to know I have some sort of talent, however useless:
(picture by Micah)
And then she had Mark and Uncle Simon, and then Mark and Uncle Bob, race to see who could put on pantyhose fastest while blindfolded:
And finally, we all sang a song that Granpa Patterson apparently used to sing to the sisters on Saturday mornings while making breakfast, about a sausage machine. It was kind of strange, since none of us really knew the tune or the words, but also a sweet way to end the talent show. Grandpa Pattersond died before I was born, when Jonah was only a few days old, and I don't really know too much about him.
So, all talented out, we had berry cobbler and watched the Olympics, cheering for athletes we'd never heard of. As I've mentioned before, we are easily excited, but it wasn't hard at all to get excited about the men's 4x100 freestyle relay in swimming, which the US won by a hair and which may actually be one of the most exciting things I've ever seen:
Ah yes, and to leave you all with a heart-warming feeling of family bonding, here are some of the pictures from the photo shoot Tobin had me do of him in his guitar-playing ensemble, which we decided looked kind of like a skeezy porn star:
Family group photos will be up tomorrow =)