Friday, September 18, 2015

Family reunion boasts talent show, fabulous food, renewed relationships

Comings and goings at High Chaparral in the Northern Rockies:
 another fabulous family reunion features talent galore. 
Some had to leave the night before, but these cousins and close family said farewell until next time on the last morning.


Great nephew James, above, practices
his whistle, and great-niece Elliana,
in green hat with Nora, previews her

 costume while cuddling our Yorkie.

THE FORECAST was for intermittent rain, and that was indeed what transpired.
Wet though our weekend was from time to time, nothing could dampen our spirits.
Emcee Kenji Otokawa with his second-cousin
James Brian Ganner, strolling High Chap.
We had fabulous food, we'd flown and driven to be together from several states, and we had a talent contest to perform.
MY NEPHEW Kenji Christopher, named after me, was recruited to host the roast, which included affectionate stories about my travel mishaps and a few yarns I'd spun through the years. Kenji had 30 Cosgriffes laughing and crying as he tossed off bon mots between witty introductions of the performers. (He also brought his lovely lady friend, Lauren, with him from Atlanta, to introduce her to his family.)
At keyboard, Larry Giles, adopted Cosgriffe, & nephew James Hayes on guitar.
BETWEEN thunder storms and downright downpours, the Cosgriffe Family Reunion, Feast and Talent Spectacular unfolded partly outdoors and partly inside our garage-cum-auditorium. We'd converted Keller's work table to a picnic table as saws, hammers and projects in progress went on shelves to make way for a keyboard, electric base, drums, tables and chairs.
OPENING the show, Kenji welcomed people to the "unbirthday party," a la "Alice in Wonderland." We'd decided the occasion merited more than a mere birthday fete.
Pretty in pink:  Sister Olivia donned her sun hat to sing a song
with sister Misha: "Heaven's Radio" was a huge hit.
Cookie read from her paperback,
"Lilian's Last Dance" and played piano. 
Elliana gives her uncle Keller a hug.
Paying homage to me, ("Who but my auntie would serve me a martini when I was three?"), Kenji kept the action going, as
his cousins, aunties, uncles, mother and others came front and center to sing, dance, read vintage letters and original poetry, plus a poem by William Blake (this writer's favorite). Musicians rocked out with Mother Maybelle Carter favorites, Gershwin, Cole Porter and the Andrews Sisters. "In the Mood" one moment then Willie Nelson. Then Kenji, a gifted pianist, honored us with a classical performance. Janice Joplin's little known sister, Janie Joplin, made a guest appearance, singing a Cosgriffe version of "Mercedes Benz," with my brother Rick accompanying her (really Jane Milder, my sister-in-law) while doing a headstand.
Jim Hayes focuses on a photo
while his sister-in-law Misha looks on.
Kira Cosgriffe, right, gives her sister Aurora expert eyebrows. 
MY NIECES took time off to give one another facials, implementing the salon's latest techniques for removal of unwanted facial hair! (Never a dull moment with the Cosgriffes.)
I played keyboard, spelled off by the talents of adopted Cosgriffe Clan Georgian, Larry Giles, who with his beautiful and funny wife, Mary, are welcome members of the clan. We had drums and guitar, with the talents of my nephew, James, whose father, my brother-in-law Jim Hayes produced a spectacular slide show, "The Cosgriffes in California."
Gil's Goods by the Murray Hotel is a fine find in lively Livingston, Montana.
IT TAKES A couple years to plan and execute a proper family reunion. "Save the Date" notices went out months ago, then invitations in May, heralding the August gathering at High Chaparral, north of Nye, Montana.

UP NEXT: While we're in a party mood, come to Livingston, the Murray Hotel and Gil's Goods, a fabulous next-door eatery. There's always a celebration in this lively western town, where Yellowstone Park buses take tourists in the park's first entrance! Remember: explore, learn, live and catch us Wednesdays and weekends at

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