I'm patting myself on the back, I finally made my first long-distance drive (longer than Ellis to Hays and back). I drove to Hutchinson a week ago.

I had always been the passenger and didn't really pay attention to any landmarks. Jim had a great route that took us to Hutchinson thru the country, bypassing city traffic, stoplights and reduced speed limits. I studied the map, and I'm proud to say I arrived at my son's home without a single mishap.

We spent time visiting, catching up on what's been going on in their family, and also looked at sympathy cards and pictures taken at the funeral.

My son Stewart and daughter-in-law OSun came as my guests to the 96th Edwards/Burford annual family reunion this year in Greensburg. Jim's mother, Viola, was the youngest child of the Purn Edwards family line.

This reunion has been in the towns of Fowler, Minneola and Montezuma beginning 96 years ago at Purns farm near Fowler.

When Jim was a young boy, he attended the reunion with his parents. Years passed. In 2002, his cousin Dorothy Holst, who lives in Oregon, planned to attend the reunion. She called and encouraged him to come, so we decided to go even though Jim thought he wouldn't remember anyone. We had a wonderful time.

One of the families to host the reunion this year requested it be in Greensburg. Their home was destroyed by the tornado May 4, 2007. They are so proud of the rebuilding process. In the past three years, there has been amazing restoration of homes, churches, city and county government buildings and the schools. At the 5.4.7 Arts Center, we viewed pictures of the devastation. Only three structures were left standing. The tour guide was great. He explained and pointed out how the town is growing back "green." Very interesting.

We gathered at the new First United Methodist Church for lunch. They made us feel welcome and told my son lots of the Edwards history, explaining how the family tree branches out to include our immediate family.

Jim's side of the family has kept up reunions for nearly 100 years. As far as I know, my side of the family hasn't.

I checked with my cousins, and neither side can recall a reunion. Families get together for weddings, anniversaries and funerals, but not an annual event that included all the branches of the entire family tree.

Stewart thinks it's a shame the Hamburg/Schaus families didn't have reunions. I agree, but at the present time I don't have the energy to get this type of project started.

I'm doing OK -- attending my regular club meetings, attended a great support group meeting and I've complained about the weather. It has been hot day after day. The rainfall has missed my area. I've received only a quarter of an inch this last week, but I'm thankful for air conditioning everywhere now days -- homes, cars, churches and even businesses.

On hot days, I still enjoy sitting in the shade of a tree with a breeze blowing. Can't beat fresh air. In the evening as it cools down, the cicada (locust) sing their loud chorus for me each night.

Life goes on. What will tomorrow bring? Only time will tell.

Opal Flinn, Ellis, is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.