Family time in New Hampshire

After dealing with a few detours between Fall River and the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border, we finally arrived at Chris and Matt’s home in New Hampshire. Renee arrived shortly after us from her whirlwind roadtrip across half the country. That night we went out for dinner and practically fell asleep on the sofa afterwards as we got all caught up with each other.

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Nothing like being greeted by a costumed kid in the morning!

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Saturday’s agenda had a fairly big moment planned for all of us. Renee and her brother-in-law (or Jason’s uncle) Bill coordinated to bury Fred’s ashes at a family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. Fred had always shared memories of his youth from this camp fondly, and it’s easy to see why: it was a gorgeous setting.

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Fred’s cousin, Jay, lives on the property now and gave us an informal tour while we acquainted ourselves (steeled our emotions?).

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At some point, someone started the formal gathering. About halfway down the stairs to the dock, Bill had prepared a spot in a sort of nook in the side of the hill. It was a spot where Fred and his brothers would sit and relax from time to time.

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Everyone raised a Devil Dog in Fred’s honor (and lamented the forgotten Coca-cola and Hershey’s candy bars).

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One of Fred’s half-sisters attended, and she shared the remembrance card from Jason’s dad’s funeral many years ago.

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It really was a beautiful moment in a beautiful place.

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From left: Jason, Fred’s daughters Michelle and Chris, Chris’s son Connor, Bill, half-sister Sue, and Bill’s daughter Amanda.

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And the whole group that was able to gather for the occasion (except for Amanda’s daughter, who was feeling a bit too shy for the photos).

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That evening, back at Chris and Matt’s home, Renee brought out items that Fred had and that she wanted his daughters to have. Chris was also prepping for a certain someone’s 5th birthday party the next day.

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Paco quickly figured out who the cat people were (those are Jason’s feet in the photo).

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One of Fred’s yearbooks actually overlapped Jason’s mom’s time at the same school — New England is just a small town, right? She’s in the middle, in the dark dress.

I’m happy to be a part of this family.