Monday, May 26, 2014

REFLECTIONS ON THE 2014 KILGORE COUSINS REUNION



This Memorial Day weekend, 61 descendants of Virge and Sarah Kilgore met on the old home place in Nauvoo, Alabama (Winston County) for a  reunion gathering.  This special reunion occurs  every two years, falling on even-numbered years. That means relatives can put the date on their calendars for Memorial Day weekend, 2016.  The location will be the Virge and Sarah Kilgore old farm again.  We had  6 guests for the day, making a total of 67 present.  Our guests were Linda Noles (Granny Kilgore was a Noles) and the Pope family of Poplar Springs, who attended during the evening session. Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day…somewhat hot, but truly a good weather day for meeting outdoors under the enormous oak trees of the old home place. I THANK my brother, Ricky for mowing the grounds for the occasion.  Ron McKeever and Jerry Kilgore also came two days prior to our gathering and helped out some.  The reunion preparations were truly a team effort.  
Virge and Sarah Kilgore had 10 children.  One child died at birth and was not named. Then there was Johnie Kilgore who died at the young age of 26, never marrying, and Lou Etta, the oldest daughter, who never had children.  The remaining 7 siblings had large families.  I, along with 29 others, make up the first cousins in the Kilgore lineage. All the Kilgore branches of the Virge Kilgore lineage were represented at this reunion, with the exception of two.  The registration showed that the Grady Kilgore family had 11 people present; the Lois Kilgore McKeever family had  20 people present; the Ruth Kilgore Spain family had 2 people present; the Cecil Kilgore family had 22 people present; and the Lorene Kilgore McKleroy family had 6 people present. There were no representatives from the Dolly Kilgore Sherer/Gordon family nor the Ruby Kilgore Chadwick family.


The oldest living first cousin, Herbert Kilgore, age 85, was present with his beautiful wife, Mozelle.  The oldest family member, and the only living spouse of the children of Virge and Sarah Kilgore, is my mother, Beatrice Kilgore, who was also present.  Within the same family line, the youngest in the Kilgore lineage, Graham Isaac Allen  (born April 2014), was present with his parents.  Here is a photo of Beatrice Kilgore holding her great-grandson at the reunion.  They were the oldest and youngest present.



The day was filled with a multiple number of recreational games and things to do, spear-headed by Ricky Kilgore’s wife, Pat Schubert Kilgore.  There was corn hole toss, volleyball, checkers, bubble blowing, chess, horseshoes, “Closest to the Pin” golf, Hula Hoops, parachute play, and the list goes on. 





There was much just sitting around, talking and recalling memories and catching up with each other.  Chairs were provided by those attending,  with an extra  number of chairs provided by James Phelps, Ron McKeever, Beatrice Kilgore, and yours truly, Johnny Kilgore. The snow cone machine was an instant hit during the warm day.  Pat Schubert Kilgore, Ricky’s wife, took care of renting the machine and manning it during the day.




Mike Kilgore provided a large canopy tent for the registration area, where the registration and donations took place. My sister, Rebecca Smith, assisted me in manning headquarters.  For the flower fund, we received $180 for the day.  That money was given to Patricia Phelps to be used for decorating the graves of Papa and Granny Kilgore, Uncle Johnie Kilgore, Sis (Lou Etta) Kilgore Romans, and other family members.  This is a special ministry that Patricia and Carolyn Lampman provide for the Kilgore family.  We thank them for that.  The second donation was applied to the expenses incurred from hosting the reunion. My bills were covered because of your generosity. 



As a matter of record, the following is the report of the expenses incurred and the total donations made on Saturday.

KILGORE COUSINS REUNION EXPENSES FOR MAY 24, 2014
Card stock from Staples                                                 $ 21.22
Paper from Staples & Name tags                                      12.41
Main Card Mail Out (Post Office)                                       29.92
Follow-up Card Mail Out                                                       1.70
Ink Printing (just a portion)                                                10.00
Donation containers (Dollar Tree)                                        3.24
Food, Drinks, Paper Goods (Walmart)                              113.20  
Snowball Machine Rental and supplies                              60.00

Total                                                                         $ 251.69


Money received:                                                             $ 253.00

Of that amount, Celia Spain Johnson contributed $100 in the memory of our relatives, Glenn McKeever and Micah McKeever, who passed away since the last reunion.

The evening wiener roast and sharing time was a little different than previous years.  I appreciate James Phelps for bringing his grill and roasting a lot of the wieners.  The fire was used also by some to roast their wieners.  We started the campfire early so that it would be just right for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs at 6:30 pm   I asked my brother, Mike Kilgore, to oversee the sharing time.  He did such an excellent job of facilitating the time of storytelling as we sat in the front yard and on the front porch of the 100 -year- old Kilgore home. 
A special thanks to Jim Kilgore for coming one day recently to help me put the plywood down on the porch of the old house so that we could sit there during the day and even be able to go into the house.

I could say more, but thought it  appropriate to share some thoughts from our cousin, Joe McKeever which he posted on Facebook.  

"May I take a moment to say a word of appreciation to the homefolks who knock themselves out for weeks in order to host a FAMILY REUNION? In our case, they laid out roads and cut the grass on 15 acres using a tractor and hauled in chairs and tables from every direction, laid plywood sheets on the floor on the ancient house for safety, brought in a generator and snow-cone machine and 800 other things. All we out-of-towners had to do was drive up and enjoy. My thanks to Johnny Kilgore and his team! Delighted that many in the family cared enough to drive in from Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, etc. So disappointed that others did not make it. Like everything else in life, family reunions are becoming a thing of the past. The younger generations--the very ones who stay away from reunions because 'I don't know those people' --are the ones who will suffer most from not knowing their kinfolk. Too sad for words.

By the way, Joe had both his sons  and their families present.  Neil lives in the New Orleans area and Marty lives in the Charlotte, NC area.  Both traveled quite a distance proving it can be done.

Here are some pictures to help those who did not attend to see a glimpse of family, a day together, and a hope that we will see everyone in two years.  






The kind remarks concerning the reunion are greatly appreciated.  Mike McKleroy posted a message, and I share with you now.

"With Tracy McKleroy at Poplar Springs in N Alabama. On the farm that my grandfather homesteaded, and my mom and all her siblings (10) were born here. My mom was the baby. This farm has been in the family for over 100 years, but no one has lived here in over 50 years! Thank you to my cousins, especially Johnny Warren Kilgore and his wonderful family, for all their hard work, and for letting all of us cousins descend on the farm every other year. It was great!!"


I conclude this article by saying that even my dear wife, Pat, who doesn't care for reunions, told me as we drove on I-22  at 10 pm heading to our Birmingham home after the evening's reunion festivities, that she had a good time.   That's what it is all about and coming from Pat that was saying a lot.  2014 Kilgore Cousins Reunion is now in history.  Let's look forward to the future.  See you all in 2016, if not sooner.  Love you.

Johnny Kilgore
Kilgore Cousins Reunion Coordinator


1 comment:

  1. MaryBeth BridgesMay 30, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Johnny,
    I want to add my thanks for all that you and the other cousins did to make the reunion very special. It does not just happen by magic - it is a lot of hard work and is very much appreciated!

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