Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Here’s a secret to having a fun reunion: let people have some time to do what they want, even if you’re not all together. It’s part vacation after all. Hermiston, Oregon is only about 25 miles from the Wildhorse Casino, so this day of our reunion was dedicated to a gambling junket. The cool thing about the Wildhorse is that it is kid-friendly. There’s a daycare onsite for younger kids, an arcade for older kids, and a movie theater.

And of course, there’s a casino.

The Terry clan (I’m a Bruce by marriage but a Lund by birth by way of being a grandchild of a Williams and a Terry – it’s the Terry side whose black Irish stubbornness has passed from parent to child generation after generation) are gamblers by nature, but that’s one gene I choose to ignore. Well, after losing $50 in less than an hour to a very cool but very greedy slot machine that later took $40 more from my cousin before paying out generously to my sister. It’s all about timing.

So gambling is fun for most of the relatives, and most everyone spent the day at the casino. We went for a while, then took advantage of the quiet afternoon back at the hotel to do laundry and let the kids swim without the team of volleyball kids in the pool.

When you travel for a month, doing laundry on the road becomes a necessity.

The downtime was good for the kids, good for getting stuff done and ready for the next day’s departure…but sad because I know that leaving Hermiston means saying goodbye to everyone.

Throughout the trip, the goodbyes have weighed on me, and now they are here. I’ve shed more than a few tears over the thought of what’s ahead of me.

But before tomorrow’s departure, we had one final, wonderful dinner at the Mexican restaurant near the hotel, El Tapatio. Delicious and amazing Mexican food. Wonderful service. A perfect evening. We followed that with group pictures and a few tearful goodbyes to those who wouldn’t be around the following morning.

I’m grateful to all who chose to make the effort to come to the reunion. It has done my heart a lot of good.