Reunion 2008

The Hutson's - - Chowchilla, California

July 4-5, 2008


As our nation celebrated the 232nd anniversary of our Independence Day, descendants of Lowery and Opla Poteete gathered in Chowchilla. And speaking of anniversaries this year marked the 94th anniversary of Lowery's & Opla's marriage in Blairsville, Georgia. It was fitting that the DOLOPs gathered in the San Joaquin Valley, the valley where Lowery & Opla settled soon after Monteen's birth. No doubt they would be much surprised to find that the number of their descendants now is 104 (with more reportedly on the way!).


For this reunion, the seventh since 1991, some drove from as far away as Ketchikan, Boise, Prescott, and Seattle, while others flew in from Denver, Eugene, Rimrock, and even cousins from Georgia. Dean and Karen and family, including dog, motored all the way from Seattle in a large RV which they parked under the Hutson's shade trees. Some 90 DOLOPs were able to attend, plus about eight guests.


A more ideal location is hard to imagine: a peaceful rural ranch with loaded fruit trees, walnut trees, chickens, a goose and a variety of dogs who also had traveled from far points. Intermingling with the dogs were small DOLOPs of all sizes reminding us older folks that the future of the clan is well taken care of. Even the weather cooperated and the anticipated stifling heat did not arrive. Friday evening, a bonfire and fireworks were enjoyed to add to the July 4th day of celebration.


Mark & Donna and family know how to be the gracious hosts providing all the comforts you could ask for. JoAnn's and Donna's planning, buttressed with support from many others, resulted in a smooth functioning and relaxed schedule, with lots of time to visit as well as many fun things to do.


The food was delicious, again thanks to careful planning and the expert hands of people like Linda and Deanne, and some tasty barbecue chefs. Who would have thought that Matt J. would stir up an award winning salsa?


Two candidates for DOLOPhood were first examined by master of ceremonies, Ron, and then upon their successful answers to the difficult questions about the G-1s,  Joel Rochambeau and Jeremy Hatton were unanimously received into the society. Joel, incidentally, comes by way of his marrying the former Julia Proffitt in April of 2007 and Jeremy comes by way of a promise to marry Dana Proffitt on August 15th of this year. The mother of the bride invited all DOLOPs to attend the wedding on the banks of an Oregon river.


Anticipation had been mounting all day on Saturday as Pinewood Derby cars were lovingly carried by their crafters into the barn and placed tenderly on the table by the racetrack. Little hands were discouraged from grabbing the delightful playthings and from all reports by the time of the first heat in the afternoon, not a single car had been tampered with. Design judges, voting behind closed doors, studied every aspect of each car and came up with the top three design winners.


Now it was time for the actual test of speed. As only Mark can do, instructions for the series of heats were explained, cars set up on the eight lane track, judges put in position, and with a roar from the crowd the gates were open and every car made it to the finish line. This happened over and over, through prelims, semi-finals and then the finals until every car had been tested, and at last the fastest cars had proved their mettle.


Oh yes, results of the pinewood derby. In the design phase, 1st place was the car by Sandi, Bonnie, and Laura. 2nd place went to Terry and Anna's car, and 3rd to Monteen. In the speed phase, 1st went to Kris and Jim's car, 2nd Lisa and Seiji' car, and 3rd to Ryan vehicle.


During an afternoon rest period the sound of drums in the distance began to make the troops restless, but no fear, it was only Terry and Anna's taiko drums being rehearsed by potential drummers out under the fruit trees. After the evening meal, we were treated to a superb performance by the masters, Anna and Terry, and then by the neophytes who had been practicing in the afternoon.


Once again, Mark and Mary had taken charge of obtaining the DOLOP T-shirts with the logo designed by Cathie and with only a couple of exceptions by some non-conformists, everyone worn one all day Saturday and for the photo shoot in the afternoon. When it came time for the group photos, Linda and Laura took charge of herding people into the appropriate lineups and Suzy Simons, a lifestyle photojournalist took numerous shots, with everyone in various settings, except, again for some non-conformists who managed to slip out.


Kris had planned a silent auction and folks were carrying in precious items to place on the tables beginning Friday evening and again on Saturday. The actual value of the collectors pieces will never be known, but by the end of the day, $577.50 was paid into the coffers. (No doubt much of this stuff will be returned for the auction at reunion number eight in 20xx.)


Throughout the day, questions were raised about how Marcus and Anna were doing in the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha, a week long event that prevented Mark & Mary and Marcus and Anna and Bev from attending the reunion. Alan received a call from Mark to inform us that both Marcus and Anna had bettered their times, and while not qualifying for Beijing, as Mark relayed it, "They said that the experience was the highlight of their swim careers. Being in the same arena as the "Tiger Woods' of the Sport" was a thrill!"


Jim, serving as treasurer for the third, and he claims, his final time, spent a good part of his day on Saturday behind closed doors punching numbers into his computer. When all was said and done, he made a report in the evening that brought the crowd to its feet with cheers when he stated that there would be no charge to the assembled participants, This was a first time in the history of the six previous reunions that a fee was not charged. This good news resulted from the generous donations in the form of cash, food, begging and borrowing equipment from friends and neighbors, hard work, sale of items at the silent auction, and careful planning. Jim has earned a good rest, and as he stated in this report, "So, as I pack up my laptop and ride into the sunset, I am pleased to say that I will not be leaving you  without a treasurer for the next reunion. I have passed the mantle onto the G-3 generation in the person of Mr. Joel Rochambeau. He took up the challenge I laid down at the reunion and, of his own free will and volition, volunteered to be our next Treasurer. May the Force be with him!"