Minnesota Family Fun and Slattery Family Reunion: August 20-24, 2004


Brunch at Jimmy’s Buffet (Holiday Inn Express)

Everyone met up for Sunday all-you-can-eat brunch at the restaurant connected to the Holiday Inn Express. The best items on the buffet included the sautéed walleye and the chocolate covered strawberries, although I also heard raves over the made-to-order omelets and the do-it-yourself bloody mary bar. Dave, Candy, and Aunt Loretta were going to be leaving and driving down right after brunch, so this was our last chance to visit with them, and all of the little blond children—Jennifer’s and Vanessa’s mingling together—ran happily around the restaurant, got picked up and hugged, and posed for pictures with various family members. We left the buffet in our convertible and regrouped briefly at Mark’s house before heading out to our afternoon activity. At right, Grandma Gracie poses with all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in attendance. Not pictured are Camille, Angelina, Matt, Christine, and Yasmine. Below, Brady and Emily dance together, Josie holds Brady, and Jennifer slathers her children with sunscreen before heading out for the afternoon.

Como Park Zoo with Cousins (Young and Old)

Mark, Vanessa, Brady, Brian, Jerry, Jennifer, John, Emily, Josie, Lexie, Aurora, Judy, Robert, and I piled into three cars and drove over to the Como Park Zoo, a delightful free zoo in a local park. The zoo was small but nice to walk around, and we made frequent stops for ice cream, slushies, and popcorn, so that everyone was happy during the trip. After the zoo itself, it was time for the midway-style rides, now in their last year, set up just outside the zoo grounds. Jerry chickened out of one of the tilting, spinning rides, but Robert and I, Brian, and the three girls had a lot of fun on it. The girls and Robert went over to another ride or two while I went back to Judy and Mark, who were happily eating mini doughnuts, and Vanessa and Jennifer, who were supervising their kids on a small ride—Brady’s first ever. John played the older, responsible cousin, and liked the ride so much that he stayed on for another round. We waved wildly and cheered every time he came around. At the end of the day, full of fun and treats, Judy and Robert went to pick up the cars while Jennifer, John, Lexie, and Aurora took a spin on the carousel and Josie and I watched sleeping Emily and wondered how anyone could listen to carousel music for any length of time. Driving home, Judy and Jennifer in the van ahead of us got all turned around, but following them we didn’t even notice until Judy pulled into a Dairy Queen lot to say she was lost. Of course, we had to have a Blizzard, since we were there—I got a souped-up version of our standard, with chocolate cone coating, brownie pieces, toffee chips, pecans, and caramel sauce—and we consulted a map and got back on track. Maybe it was that summer road-construction which threw Judy off to begin with. . .

Dinner, Dessert, and Bean Bag Toss at Mark’s

Dinner was back at Mark’s, hot dogs and farm-fresh corn from Uncle Frank’s garden thrown on the grill. I made nachos with cauliflower and broccoli on them, which is really quite a good combination, and Robert and Jerry ran out to bring back a Culver’s frozen custard turtle cake for dessert. After dinner, we played bean bag toss games with the kids out in the backyard, and then watched the Olympics with Jerry and Brian. Below, Josie shows off the custard cake, and John and Brady nap companionably together.

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Created: 8/26/04. Last Modified: 8/26/04.