Go JU!

This past weekend was our annual Jacobson family reunion and, as usual, it was AWESOME!

We’re all about theme and this year’s was “Jacobson University: The School of Hard Knocks” which was perfect for us because, like all families, we’ve had and have our share of trials, but we’re better and stronger for it. The campus campground was rockin’ with activity all weekend long with festivities for “HOMECOMING 2012.”

WARNING: As you experience the following hightlights, you’re going to want to be adopted as one of us.

We kicked off the weekend with a tailgate party on Friday night. My cousin smoked pork for 14 hours to perfection for BBQ sandwiches for the event.

We are a family of carnivores who love food and all I can say is you vegetarians and vegans are missing out.

We had a ceremonial bonfire and the official lighting of the “J” as we stuffed ourselves with s’mores.

It’s a good thing the next morning started off with a Fun Run/Walk to burn off the calories. My brother-in-law and I opted for a bike ride instead. He and my sister just bought road bikes this spring and brought them out from Washington to christen their new roadies with us biking junkies on the beautiful open roads of Cache County.

We biked over 20 miles from Petersboro to Paradise straight into the wind and ended up on a road that had just been newly graveled and tarred which made for a bumpy ride, especially for a newbie. When we got to camp I apologized to my brother-in-law for the less-than-ideal conditions and hoped I hadn’t killed his budding biking bug. He said, “It’s all good. I’ve invested too much money in this to bail out now. Besides this gave me a good start on building up my biking callouses on my hands, and elsewhere.”

Saturday afternoon was hot and lazy—visiting, games, naps.

We had a couple of “crips” on campus with Scott having just gotten his other foot surgery on Friday and my aunt on her sixth week of recovery after having her foot completely restructured due to some monster bunions and toe dislocation issues. Ouch!

There was a football game out on the “quad” followed by an ice cream social and then dinner. (We’re a “dessert first” family.)

Then it was time to prepare for the “Homecoming Parade.”

Each family was supposed to prepare a “float” that represented a favorite family memory or just represented their family. Months before the reunion my older sister had called and made a deal with me that she would do the big meal our family was in charge of if I’d do the “float” entries for our family.


I’ve planned and prepared enough meals for the masses at Girls Camps to last a lifetime and there’s nothing I like better than dressing up family members and making them act stupid against their will.

In keeping with the collegiate theme, I decided each family would represent a different university department. My youngest sister is married to an engineer and her little boys already have mad math skills and are crazy good with Legos, erector sets and such, so they represented the JU Engineering Department. I put them all in nerd glasses and had them hold calculators, levels, and angular rulers.

Since my fam is all artsy fartsy, we posed a framed “living art” display representing the JU Art Department. Jason sported a Bob Ross fro and fan brush to paint “happy trees” while Madi wore dreads and a beret to sketch me as I posed artistic Greek in a toga and leafy wreath. Jason and I were going to model the artsy aprons my sister brought back for us from Italy that had very realistic representations of “The David” and the “Venus de Milo” printed on them, but we decided to keep our display family friendly and save the aprons for an adult BBQ.




My parents represented the “Alumni Association” dressed along the lines of Ma & Pa from the classic painting “American Gothic” since all us folk of Jacobson University: School of Hard Knocks are essentially a bunch of hicks.

My older sister’s family represented the JU Music Department since they are chock full of musical talent and my sister and her husband met in a university choir. All I had were Harry Potter robes, but the looked almost like choir robes as they sang “Do, a deer a female dear. Re, a drop of golden sun,” and so on.


My oldest sister’s family represented the JU Athletic Department since they are sports junkies, especially BYU sports. My sister did a spirited fanny wag that surprised us all and mortified her son. To get back at my brother-in-law for all his trash talk against USU sports, I made him be our mascot. I originally thought to have him dress up with a big foam cowboy hat and overalls, but as I fished through my costume box I struck gold—a hot dog costume. It was a youth medium size, which made it even more perfect! What’s funnier than a chubby middle-aged man squeezed into a kid’s hot dog costume trying to do a herkie jump?


Our teenage daughters backed him up as our JU Cheer Squad as he led the crowd in the wave. He told me if any photos of him dressed as a hot dog doing cheers ended up in my blog, he’d kill me.

I can’t help myself.

If this is my last blog entry, you’ll know why.

The other families’ entries were soooooo fun too!


My cousin who just got hitched in her late thirties shuffled the parade route wearing support hose with her new hubby as they pushed a walker decked out with a “Just Married” sign and tin cans hanging from it as they gummed “Better late then never!” cheers to the crowd in celebration of their new life together. Her veil was made of paper towels. This newest in-law in our family survived brain cancer losing the use of his right hand in the process, but he plays the guitar one-handed and serenaded us with what he calls his theme song “If I Only Had a Brain” from The Wizard of Oz. He’s gonna fit in with us just fine.




My uncle drove the “Homecoming Court” of his three darling little granddaughters, who are his pride and joy, on his four wheeler, there was a cardboard school bus and boat, a miniature fishing boat model, the presentation of the Homecoming King and Queen, and a bandana fashion show.

We may be hicks, but we got some creative juices running through our veins.

Some awards were given and, not to brag (okay, I’m going to brag) but our family’s entry won “Best of Show.”

Completely worth not having to help my sister chop up 75 chicken breasts for dinner.

One of my favorite parts of the reunion is the family business meeting on Sunday morning to plan the next reunion. Ideas are brought up and shot down, responsibilities are divvied up and dodged as a family of opinionated, pig-headed loud mouths hash out the details.

It’s amazing this reunion has lasted 34 years.

I’m sure glad it has.

These are my peeps and I love them.

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