Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just Because…


Thanksgiving is almost here.  The gathering place is set.  Who is cooking what is almost decided.  It should be a full house full of wonderful aromas that will beckon us to eat too much, and then a hour later go at it again.

What has been left out?  Surely it is all planned, right?

What about Thanksgiving?

What do you mean, what about Thanksgiving?  That’s what we have planned, right?

Sort of…

It seems like we have everything but Thanksgiving.  How about we start listing the things for which we give thanks.  Please take just a moment or so and post a couple comments about the things for which you are thankful.



OK, I’ll start here.  You continue in the comments below.

Life
Abundant Life
Life Eternal
My family
Family gatherings
Living in a country where we can express our thoughts and still disagree with each other
Turkey sandwiches


Okay, pick it up from here…

Monday, October 31, 2016

Christmas Break for Tom and Sharman in Oklahoma.

Help identify everyone in this picture.  This was Sharman's first trip to Oklahoma.








Tom brought Sharman to Oklahoma at Christmas time in 1983.    Clockwise from upper left--please verify.

Fred Canada
Fern Meany
Raymond Canada
Hidden person?
Stella Canada
Melba Miller
Bottom left?

Was this at Fern Meany's or Vernon & Anne Spence's house.  Help and corrections in the comments section please.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I was already speeding

The Travel Inn in Edmond, Oklahoma was a mandatory stop for my grandfather on most trips to town.  He might not have to stay long but he had to say hello to many old friends.  Grandpa described to me one time when he was leaving his favorite stop and heading home.  He had stayed a while and had enjoyed a few or maybe several beers.

He said that he was driving along and somebody came up behind him and then pulled around and passed him like he was just sitting there.  He said that he gave it some gas and in turn passed the offender and stayed ahead of him.

My grandfather explained, “I had to pass him.  I was already speeding when he passed me.”


I don’t know that I can explain his logic but perhaps I can better understand why some of my cousins enjoyed racing so much.  Some of it must have been hereditary. 

Oh, we've hit that before...

On one of my occasional trips to the Travel Inn in Edmond, Oklahoma in which my grandfather drove despite my multiple offers to chauffeur, we had concluded our business and were ready to head home. As he backed the car out of the parking space—a piece of gravel lot indistinguishable from the rest of the lot—and backed up, I noticed a short pole to the rear.

Realize that when my grandfather put the car in gear he would also accelerate.  It did not matter which direction; he gave it some gas.  So there I was in the back seat as tires were spinning, gravel making a furious noise, and we were racing backwards when I saw this pole that we were closing in on fast.

I yelled, “Pole!”

Stella, his wife, casually looked back at me and said, “Oh, we’ve hit that before.”


Grandpa put it in drive, gave it some gas, and we spun out on the gravel until we hit asphalt.  Apparently, the small poles at the edge of the lot were just magic posts in the pinball parking game of which I had yet to receive my initiation. I should have known that my grandfather would have already tested the boundaries of the parking lot.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Muster Your Memories

Everyone on the mailing list should receive a hard copy R.E. Canada Family Reunion letter this week.  Please read it and start making plans and taking the steps needed to get to next year’s reunion.

I wanted to get something out in hard copy to get things started and to announce the Raymond E. Canada family reunion blog.  You can go to www.recanada.org or www.recanada.info and these domains will forward you to the blog.


They all lead to the same place.  Please read the letter and get on top of all of the logistics, planning, and budgeting that you need to do to get there—but for the moment, start putting your memories together and emailing them to me.

These may be memories of Raymond Canada, funny stories, or just fond experiences that need to be shared.

Or…

They can be reunion experiences that you want to share and for which the statute of limitations has expired.

Also, send pictures of Raymond so that I can post them on the site as well.  Please get them into a .jpg format and send them electronically.  Give me as much detail as you can to go with the photo post.

Here is the great thing about the blog format.  We can add to the story as we go.  Check out what is already posted.  If you have more to add to that story, use the comments.  If you have more than will go in the comments section, write a story and email it to me in Word or as plain text in an email--something that I can copy and paste.


One final note:  NO BLOGJACKING.  Add as much relevant information as you want to articles and pictures but let’s not go down rabbit trails that don’t relate.  We can hijack all the Facebooks posts we want but let’s keep this blog full of good memories…and we better remember them now while we still can.

Contest #1--First Fees and Facts


I just read the reunion letter and I am exhausted.  That's too much reading for one year.  

Oh, get over it and get on with it.  Some text that much in the first quarter of a football game.

Here is the real question:  Did you catch the earn money towards the reunion contest?  If not, here it is:

 I will contribute $10 towards your housing costs for the first 3 Registration Fees received before 1 December 2016 if you also can tell me the significance of the date on the letterhead and the full names of the two people responsible for that date.  I will go by the postmarked date on your envelope to determine sequence.  USPS registration only for this incentive.  More ways to earn something towards your bill later on..

Some restrictions apply.

1.  Not redeemable for cash or other application (e.g. tee shirt cost).
2.  In case of ties, the distance traveled by the letter will be the tie breakers.

2017 Reunion Letter #1


R. E. Canada Family Reunion
17 November 1894
30 September 2016

Greetings and blessings to all,
May the Lord’s peace and favor be upon you!  May your fond memories of this year’s reunion remain with you for years to come.  May the expectations of gathering once again begin to grow within you.
First of all, I want to answer some of your questions.  Yes, this is a R.E. Canada Family Reunion letter for 2017 sent out in 2016; and yes, I am sending it now on purpose.  Second, which should have been first, thank you to Tara and John for a fantastic job with this year’s reunion.  Thank you!
Now to the future of our reunion—let’s look at 3 basic goals.  We would like it to be inclusive, sustainable, and participatory.  We will also apply the tenants of concurrent and parallel planning.  

What?  That means that we are going to do many things at the same time and need to communicate.

Inclusive.  We want to see each other each year for something other than a funeral.  We know the date.  It is Labor Day weekend each year.  Save the date. Protect the date.  Budget for that date.  Make sure that you schedule your time off for that date.  Double your vitamins and probiotics six months before that date so you know you will be healthy for that weekend, which for 2017 is 1-4 September.  We want you there!

Sustainable.  For many years, Aunt Fern footed the bill for lodging and all that we needed to do was be there.  That was a blessing for which we should still be thankful.  Now we divide the cost among the attending adults.  Sometimes the coordinator bears a little more financial stress than desired as deposits are always due early and payments from family traditionally are not made until the reunion.  That makes it tight for some coordinators and even for attendees who have to come up with the entire amount in September of each year.

This year we are going to try a slightly different, and hopefully better model, that is sustainable regardless of whom the coordinator might be.  It involves giving yourself, the coordinator, and the reunion a Christmas gift.  We are asking for $50 from each adult who plans to attend by the 1st of December 2016.  That means setting aside a dollar a day for the next 50 days for each person if your budget is tight.  It also breaks the cost up into 3 payments over the year ahead.

Why?  First, it gives the coordinator a little relief come deposit time.  Second, it gives you a little relief come reunion time—you will have already paid $50 towards the final bill.  This is not refundable.  So if you do not attend, it is a contribution that mitigates risk of significant fluctuation in the cost for those who do attend.  It might seem hard to swallow the first year, but once we go through a complete cycle, I think that you will see the benefits for all.  More on finances at the end of the letter.

Participatory.  Everyone can participate in planning and preparation.  We have already made some progress in that area.  Matthew Baker (assisted by Tara) will be in charge of searching for next year’s site.  If you find something, please research it (minimum stay, price for the days we need, rules & restrictions, proximity, and any other items of interest or concern), then send it to Matthew. 

The geography of those who commit on 1 December may influence the geography of the search area.  What does that mean?  If most of the people likely to attend are from the western Oklahoma area, we might look more to Quartz Mountain.  If the Texas contingent is coming, we might look farther south.  If they are not, we might look to the Illinois River again.  We may find a new place so compelling that makes everyone’s drive worth the while wherever it is.  This is the dynamic of concurrent and parallel planning.  Many things will be happening concurrently that will impact a few major decisions.  Location is one of those decisions.

Darla is composing a Mailing List.  Please keep her current with both your snail mail and email addresses.  If you received this letter, then we have your USPS address.  Facebook is great, but these two tradition forms of contact are more concise for certain aspects of the reunion.  Later, I will set up a web page just for basic information so as not to interfere with the ongoing conversation via other media.
David is in charge of Tee Shirt design and sourcing.  Send your thoughts and ideas to him early.  See info on pricing on a separate page.
Tara is in charge of billeting.  We plan for every adult to have a bed.  Kids sometimes end up in sleeping bags or atop air mattresses, but we do plan a bed for every adult.  Many of us cannot do a top bunk and some have difficulty getting to upstairs rooms.  If you have special needs, please let Tara know early so we may plan accordingly. 
Kristy Baker is in charge of Reunion Accounting.  She will track payments made and final payments due.  This also provides some accountability of the person collecting funds in advance (me this year).
Cathy Kirkland is in charge of meal coordination.  We always have too much food.  Maybe we should just have one meal and then leftovers. J  I’m sure that it will work out great.  Tell Cathy what you want to do to help.
Anne Spence will be in charge of bringing games (Pictionary, Balderdash, or even something new).
Justin and Larry are in charge of the auction.  It will most likely be Saturday evening.
Tom is in charge of compliance, clean up, and check out.  We won’t know the exact requirements until we select a site, but somebody needs to keep us in touch with the rules.  This usually involves what to do with linen and trash and details that if we can get 1 or 2 people to read them and explain them to us, we will all pitch in and get them done.  This will most likely fall to the coordinator or site selection person each year.

Tom will moderate the family meeting which will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, 2 September 2017Sharman will be the recorder.  She has great penmanship! J The first two agenda items will be to elect a moderator and recorder for 2018.  Other agenda items will include use of auction proceeds, debrief of the current model, selection of a 2018 planning and preparation team, return of the talent show, and pets for future reunions.  Please submit your additional agenda items via email to Tom no later than 1 August 2017.

Just sayin’…  It is good to come together and just visit but we should recognize that we bring a lot of education and experience into one place each Labor Day weekend.  We have counselors, supervisors, those who work retail and those who build, rebuild, and repair, those good with money and numbers, pastors, retired teachers, a couple of retired Leathernecks and others with military and combat service, and the number of college graduates continues to grow.  We even have people who are current on the latest technology.

How about, we set aside about 1 hour right after lunch on Saturday for 3 workshops (No!  Let’s call them Funshops!)  and a craft for the kids?  Each Funshop would be about 20 minutes.  Who knows, the follow-on discussions might go on long after the weekend.  Here is what I was thinking for 2017:

Biblical Finance – Amanda Swint
Empathic Listening – Tara Ryan
How do I do that with my phone? – Caitlin Womble
Craft for Children – Sharman and Heather Spence

What if we left the reunion not only having enjoyed seeing one another, but having learned from each other?  We could set up other workshops for 2018 at the family meeting.
~
The other what ifs…  Yes these are those things that people tend to worry about even though we have very clear instructions about not worrying about anything and turning everything over to God.
What if I lose my job or get in an accident or a meteor hits my car the week before the reunion?  Am I still out the cash?  We can always work with extreme circumstances.  The intent in this model is to come up with something that mitigates the risk of the group without placing undo financial hardship on any one person.  If you find out that you have to work that weekend or you get the flu, we would ask that you donate the $50 you sent in December and enjoy the tee shirts that will be sent to you.  If you find out that you have leukemia the week after you send in your $50, we had better not have to wait until September to hear about it.  We want to start praying with you now and really want to find a way to get you there in September.  For most circumstances, this model won’t impact anyone in a financially adverse manner.  In fact, it should help most spread the cost across a year.  If it really puts you in a bind, please call me.
What if I didn’t think that I could go and didn’t send in my payments but find out at the last minute that I can attend?  Come!  By all means come and be a part of this special gathering.  You may have to bring an air mattress or sleeping bag and deal with what’s available, but please come!  There are no penalties for having not paid in accordance with the very official looking schedule that is attached (other than you have to pay for everything at once when you arrive [as we have done in the recent past] and if you didn’t order a tee shirt, we can’t pull that out of thin air). 
What if I am pretty sure that I can’t go but would like the tee shirt?  Just send in your money in March and we will send them or deliver them to you.  If you find out later than you can go, well see the preceding paragraph and know that your shirts will be waiting on you.
What if I can’t afford to contribute to the food?  That should be the least of your worries.  We usually end up with enough food to feed twice as many people as attend for twice as long.  Pitch in somewhere else with preparation or cleaning or whatever you notice needs to be done and don’t worry about food costs.
What if we try it this way and don’t like it?  Notice closely that this is written on paper and not in stone.  Give it a try this year, evaluate, and then we will keep what we think works, kick the rest to the curb, and get creative where we need something better.

Tom Spence
2017 Coordinator

580 515 2995
Tomspence0302@gmail.com
Snail Mail:  PO Box 809, Burns Flat OK 73624

Bonus!!!  I will contribute $10 towards your housing costs for the first 3 Registration Fees received before 1 December 2016 if you also can tell me the significance of the date on the letterhead and the full names of the two people responsible for that date.  I will go by the postmarked date on your envelope to determine sequence.  USPS registration only for this incentive.  More ways to earn something towards your bill to follow.



Payment Schedule and Explanation of Charges

DATE
PAYMENT
NOTES
1 DEC 2016
REGISTRATION FEE (NON REFUNDABLE)

$50

THIS SAYS, “I’M COMING AND I WANT A BED!  I WILL DO MY BEST TO SAVE THE DATE AND BE THERE!”

OUCH!  THIS SEEMS EARLY AND CHRISTMAS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.  REMEMBER, THIS IS YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO YOURSELF.  SET THE MONEY ASIDE NOW BEFORE YOU SPEND TOO MUCH ON CHRISTMAS.

THIS IS ONLY FOR ADULTS.
1 MAR 2017
TEE SHIRT CHARGE

$25
YOUR SHIRT WILL PROBABLY COST LESS, USUALLY $12-$18.  IF Y0U CAN’T MAKE IT, WE WILL DELIVER OR SHIP YOUR SHIRT TO YOU ALONG WITH WHAT’S LEFT AFTER THE COST OF THE SHIRT AND SHIPPING.  IF YOU DO MAKE IT, ANYTHING OVER THE COST OF THE SHIRT WILL BE APPLIED TO YOUR HOUSING COST.  THIS IS FOR ALL ORDERING TEE SHIRTS—ADULTS AND CHILDREN.
2 SEP 2017
FINAL PAYMENT
THIS WILL BE THE BALANCE DUE.  SO IF YOU ARE PAYING ONLY FOR YOURSELF, AND THE CONSTRUCTIVE [FOR THIS EXAMPLE ONLY] HOUSING COST PER ADULT WAS $135 AND YOU PAID $50 IN DECEMBER AND HAD $9 CREDIT ON YOU SHIRT ORDER [PAYING $25 IN MARCH], THEN YOU WOULD OWE $76 IN SEPTEMBER.

IF THERE WERE 2 ADULTS AND 2 CHILDREN IN YOUR GROUP, YOUR TOTAL BILL WOULD BE $270 FOR HOUSING MINUS THE $100 THAT YOU SENT IN DECEMBER.  YOU WOULD HAVE SENT $100 FOR SHIRTS IN MARCH BUT WOULD HAVE A $36 CREDIT, BRINGING YOUR FINAL FAMILY PAYMENT TO $134.

I don’t like charts and graphs and tables.  What do I need to do?  Save $1 per adult per day from now until the reunion.  On 1 December 2016 send Tom $50 per adult.  On 1 March 2017, send Tom $25 per person for shirts.  When you arrive, you can pay the balance.  If you are only planning for yourself and saved $1 per day per adult, you will have $225 for your reunion budget remaining.  That should cover your housing cost and travel expenses and more.  If you have a carload of kids or multiple adults, you may have to use the table above and do some math.  If you have a carload of kids, give it to them as a special homework assignment. J  This will work!


General Itinerary (Tentative)

Friday, 1 September 2017
Arrival
Meals on your own
Saturday, 2 September 2017
10:30 am             Family Meeting
11:30 am             Lunch
12:30 pm             Funshops and Craft for Children
 8:00 pm              Auction
Sunday, 3 September 2017
TBD
Evening                Sing Along (Lloyd, please bring your guitar)
Monday, 4 September 2017
Clean up, pack up, farewells (usually by 11:00 am)

This will surely be revised several times based upon location and activities in the area, meal plans and eating out, and a variety of other factors.  Scheduling will be kept to a minimum to keep the whatever factor high.