A few months ago my mother summoned me, my four siblings and our assorted clans to our "family reunion" at the YMCA of the Rockies which is a few miles outside of Estes Park. Obviously, when SusieQ summons, we yield, and who in their right mind would turn down a free vacation.
If you want to lay by the side of a pool while gay Puerto Ricans and girls in bikinis who have escaped the monotony of the Midwest serve you cocktails with umbrellas, you should not go to the YMCA of the Rockies. Apparently, it should have been clear from the title that we were vacationing at a summer camp, but I am not always the brightest bulb. However, if you are into wholesome family fun, beautiful scenery, and crappy food, the YMCA of the Rockies is perfect.
Luckily, the Festival of Enlightenment was happening there so all the fat people in turquoise jewelry gave me a visual reprieve from all the bible-toting Jesus-loving teenagers. It's sort of ridiculous how in a mess hall full of hundreds of people, I could instantly identify the bible thumpers from the enlightenment seekers. I mean what was it about the guy across from me at the buffet that I could just tell he was a super-energetic-let's-get-the-kids-praying-high-on-Jesus-jumping-up-and-down-type-of-guy-who-probably-likes-to-give-hugs-and-maybe-just-maybe-massages-teenage-girls-shoulders-with-a-little-too-much-familiarity-kind-of-guy. (Uh, Minger, it's one thing to identify a guy as a Christian group leader from the way he looks but maybe quite another to assume he is a border line molester of teenage girls.)
Anyway, as you may have picked up from some of my previous posts, my family isn't always my favorite group of people. They're clean and orderly and boring, and I'm dirty and unorganized and completely fabulous. However, in spite of their many faults, we had an excellent time. (Lest any of my relatives read this, I'm going to underline the fact that that last statement was slightly tongue in cheek.)
We had a meeting room rented which had a great patio for drinking a little beer and getting sunburns. Since there were eighteen of us, we were able to have a couple of really fun and funny games of softball and beach volleyball. I really hope my kids remember those forever because I have some really fond memories of playing kickball with my grandma, aunts, cousins, etc. When sporting contests are on the agenda, it works really well that Catholics are such prolific breeders. And, I even have to say that while we were sitting around the campfire under an almost full moon listening to my niece (who in my opinion is a stellar song writer) play her guitar and sing her tunes, I even got a little teary eyed at how much I love all those people.
One major highlight of the trip was that only one of my kids dropped an eff-bomb only one time. I think five days and one eff bomb is a new record for them.
And I am deeply impressed that my husband who makes his living designing and cooking dishes like
Fire Roasted Shrimp- fire roasted shrimp served with a yam
stuffed anaheim pepper and shrimp bisque sauce
Stuffed Steamed Trout- rainbow trout filled with bacon,
organic mushrooms & bleu cheese served with a cranberry
was willing to spend a week eating cafeteria food. Kudos to you, good sir. One night, however, he said he couldn't eat the food because it looked so gross he wouldn't even feed it to the dogs. I, on the other hand, had two heaping plates full of it (but I am a little trashy). It worked out for the best because on the way back from McDonalds, we saw the tiniest littlest mule deer suckling her mama mule deer, and I love love love suckling baby wildlife so I was happy that his high standards forced us into the gourmet and tasty arms of that world class chef Ronald McDonald.
All in all, it was a great time. The YMCA of the Rockies is big enough so that I did not feel like I was on top of the Bible thumpers. The setting is gorgeous unless you're one of those people who doesn't like snow capped mountains, blue skies, wild flowers, and herds of elk. There are a lot of free things for kids to do (swimming, mini golf, disc golf, hiking and even more that we didn't get to like a craft room), and we were all glad not to have a TV in our lodge room. I'd probably recommend it if somebody asked. My kids would certainly recommend it.