A good time was had by all

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

One of the first admonitions given to me when I first starting working at the Gazette was to avoid, whenever possible, the phrase, "A good time was had by all."

The phrase is often overused and so has become trite, and it is nearly always unverifiable.

The reasoning given to me in my early newspaper days was to suppose there were 50 attendees at a family reunion. To verify that a good time was indeed "had by all," you would have to ask each person there, "So, did you have a good time?" Not going to happen.

Well, we didn't have 50 people visit over the holiday weekend, only six, all arriving Thursday evening in time to catch me with my floor mop still dripping. And I can honestly say a good time was had by all.

Cribbs DNA was in full force. Danny's nephews, and all of our children with all their children, were a part of some, if not all of the weekend activities.

Fishing, camping, shooting, it all came into play, females definitely outnumbered by males, even factoring in our tyke-sized granddaughters.

The nephews, cousins to one another, were joined on this trip by a great-nephew. The elder nephews spent a lot of their growing up summers at our house, staying overnight, for the weekend or for weeks at a time as extended members of our family. Grown and in their 30s now, it was pure joy to slip back into the ever-comfortable roles of Uncle Danny and Aunt Dawn, just for a while.

With all five grandchildren, at one time or another, up and about all of the adults spent their time with one eye on their adult pursuits and the other peeled for the next near-catastrophe involving someone under the age of 6. When asked Thursday what our plans for the weekend were, I answered honestly that the only definite for the weekend was that no one end up in the emergency room. Otherwise we would play it by ear. Playing it by ear ended up meaning two nights out at the lake, camping (first time in 20 years for Danny and me), fishing and the annual fireworks show choreographed by our eldest son. With his cousins, brother and brother-in-law to assist with the execution and purchase of sparklers, fountains and mortars, Ben (who has always had a somewhat bossy streak) presented a light show rivaled only by a far-off lightning storm.

We turned in a little before midnight Monday night. Over the course of the long weekend, bandaids were administered, as was a bag of ice on a nasty bruise, but no trips to the emergency room were necessary. The only drawback, other than some early morning stiffness after sleeping on the hard ground, was the alarm clock Tuesday morning.

The boys are home now. Eric and Andrew are back in Denver as is Ben. Michael will make his way to Seattle after spending a few more days with his mom and grandmother in Denver and it will be months, if not years, before we see him again, though he is hoping to repeat this year's "vacation within a vacation" again next year.

I didn't embarrass the boys while they were here by telling them this, and as they are at different places on their individual spiritual journeys, they probably wouldn't have believed me anyway, but it was marvelous to see what God has done in their lives. Witnessing diaper days, snotty noses, playground scuffles and teen rebellions, I sometimes despaired of their futures. Would they even survive the next catastrophe? They have not only survived, but thrived, becoming men in the process.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

-- Dawn Cribbs knows that the journeys taken by the nephews has often been arduous. She waits only for them to embrace what Dan Allender asked in his book, The Wounded Heart. "Do I believe that God is a loving Father who is committed to my deepest well-being, that he has the right to use everything that is in me for whatever purpose he deems best, and that surrendering my will and my life to entirely to him will bring me the greatest joy and fulfillment I can know this side of heaven?"

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