Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rocky Mountain Thanksgiving

View from Tim and Marie's deck

Last Wednesday morning, after spending a grand total of two nights in our new place, Mark and I set out for Winter Park, Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with the Koepke Clan. Three contingents - us from Utah, Mark's sister Rebecca and her family driving from Kansas City, and the Portlandiers who flew - were convering on the house of Mark's brother, Tim, and his wife Marie. The west coast people consisted of Mark's mother, Joan, his sister Sarah, his sister Deb and her husband Neil and their son David and his wife, Tracie, and their two kids, Gavin and Gracie.

Except for dense fog and frost in the Uintas, the day was clear and beautiful, and we arrived late that afternoon at Tim and Marie's, just before the Portlandiers arrived. We had a nice evening of visiting and helping ourselves to Marie's legendary Rocky Mountain Meatloaf.

Thanksgiving morning started off with coffee and a blog post while Mark went over and visited a bit with his mom and the others who were staying at Tim and Marie's. (Joan had arranged for most of us to stay at her World Mark - her time share - in nearby Granby.) When I arrived, Marie, Sarah and Rebecca (pictured above) had started on the turkeys and and stuffing. Mark helped.

Shortly afterward, it was time to head out with Sophia - Tim and Marie's younger daughter - to run her sled dogs. Sophia, who is 15, has been raising and racing these dogs for several years. It's amazing to see how tough she is with them, including kicking one off another when they get in a fight. 

Mark's sister Sarah suited up to ride in the sled. Gotta admire her courage. Especially after I heard later how the dogs often take off from the trail into the woods if they see some sort of critter. (We passed three moose on our way to the running and had seen a fox right outside the World Mark.) Sophia's sister, Marina, and cousin, Rachel, as well as Tim, helped get the dogs out of the truck, then chained to the truck, then harnessed up to make the run.

After the running of the dogs, it was full preparation/relaxation mode back at the house: preparation for the cooks, relaxation for the rest of us.

Marie, Neil, Deb and Sarah work away

Apparently, the dogs didn't hear - or chose to ignore - the bit about too many cooks in the kitchen.
Sam, the big one, laid around pretty much where he wanted to.

Joan had made and brought with her these place cards and holders. :)

Elizabeth, John and Andrew - three of Rebecca's four kids - and Sarah's fabulous spinach balls (left).
Sorry for the crappy picture quality; my iPhone just doesn't do well on interior shots.

L-R: Andrew, Sarah, Elizabeth, John, Joan, Mark and Tim

Sisters: Marina and Sophia Koepke

Lovers: Joseph and Mark

Dinner was, of course, fabulous. Local organically-raised turkey, ham, Deb's delicious sweet potatoes and yams, her rolls, green bean casserole, stuffing, etc., etc., etc. And more pies that we could ever eat.

It was a memorable day. As I told Mark, this was the first time I have attended an American Thanksgiving dinner involving multiple generations of extended family since my childhood. When I lived in Canada, we had holiday dinners involving my ex-wife's family; and those were nice, especially for our older kids who can remember them. But I hadn't participated in a family event like the Koepke Thanksgiving Weekend since, I believe, 1966 - which was the last one in which members of the extended Broom family gathered with my family at our home in Salem, Illinois to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 1966: L-R: Me (Cut in half), my brothers Mike and Danny, Grandma Broom, Uncle Dale, my sister Karen, Aunt Elizabeth, Aunt Judy and Mom (Dad was taking the picture and my younger sister Martha was in her playpen in the living room.) Observations: I can't believe my mother got us boys to wear ties. I also can't believe the rather paltry amount of food, as compared to today's standards. I'm grateful for this picture.

I'll write another post about the rest of the weekend, which was truly Grand (in Grand County, Colorado). Pun intended.


  1. wow! great pictures thank you Joseph and it was such a wonderful time together - there is nothing like family and I am thankful you are part of the 'Koepke Clan' xxo

  2. Thank you, Marie. You said it - there's nothing like family. :)