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There are two types of people: those who love family reunions and those who would rather clean toilets or scoop kitty litter than figure out things to say to relations they only see once a year.  I am in the first group of people.  Actually, I’m in my own group, a group of people whose favorite event all year is the family reunion. A group of people whose greatest joy in life is to chat about books, recipes, and family memories with those they can’t get enough of yet see only once a year.  It’s better than Christmas!  Perhaps I stand alone in this.

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If you want to see me in a state of pure bliss, just observe me on the second Saturday in July when our half Swedish, half French-Canadian clan gathers together in beautiful Michigan for the LaPointe reunion.  This particular group of (my mom’s) cousins I met periodically at funerals and the like as a child, but I didn’t really have any idea who they were, and certainly didn’t have much to discuss at the time with a bunch of adults.  In 2012, after years of attending reunions for the previous generation, the cousins decided to start their own reunion and so it began.  It was at that first reunion that I discovered how much I adored every single one of my mom’s cousins.

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I’ve had five visits to get to know these folks and each time I am amazed at how similar some of us are.  It’s an incredible thing to meet an individual from a different generation who instantly feels like your best friend and whom you share so much in common with.  There is an instant bond that cannot be described; it’s like seeing your soul in a mirror, the very essence of who you are.

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Saturday I arrived at the home of my cousin Molly only to be pulled into her house because she wanted to “tell me something”.  Once inside she shared that she had something for me.  She presented me with a book (I know this is already very exciting, but it gets better so hold on)!  The book was a COOKBOOK about a woman from a SMALL TOWN in Northern MICHIGAN who runs a FARM STAND and meets lots of FRIENDS.  Not only did Molly give me a book, but everything about me is in this book.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, there’s more.  The book was SIGNED by the woman who owned the farm stand!!!  There is a true talent in giving gifts and Molly has it mastered.

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Hollyhocks and Radishes is what Molly described as a “reading” cookbook.  The cookbook tells of life in a small town throughout the seasons of Northern Michigan in a series of letters between Mrs. Chard, who owned the farm stand, and the author of the book. You feel as if you are there with her the entire time you are reading, transported to the U.P. The recipes inside are old fashioned recipes and although you don’t have to try any recipes to enjoy the book, I do hope to make some.  This book is such a treat and I gave it five stars on Goodreads!

The next best thing to eating a good dinner is reading about it.

A weekend spent with family in Michigan is such a blessing, but now I return to Illinois.  Back to my home amid the soybeans and corn where the neighbors include horses and cows and the library is an oasis for dreaming.  It feels good to be back!

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