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South Texas Living

Making memories at family reunion

Making memories at family reunion
Zook siblings at Zook Reunion in early 1940s, (from left) Maurine, Warren, Gladys (Sister Agatha Linn), Everett, Lawrence, and Ola Dee

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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
September 5, 2012
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We had our Zook/Wauson Family Reunion last weekend. We had it in New Braunfels at the Gruene Outpost Lodge. We checked in about 3:30. A little while later, my daughter Kristi and her husband Chuck arrived from Belton and checked in at their cabin, and Taylor, my granddaughter from Fort Worth, and her husband Brett and their kids arrived. A little while later, we had a little sandstorm and then a thunderstorm that didn’t last long. The temperature went from 103 to about 83 in a matter of 30 minutes. I think that was our gift from God! Then my granddaughter Jessica came with her son Ayden. I was excited and happy. Reunions are fun. And more family was coming later.

We went to Freddie’s for supper ... did you ever hear of Freddie’s? They have the best hamburgers, or should I say “steak burgers” ... they were made with steak, not hamburger, and we had milkshakes and ice cream. We sat there eating, talking, and visiting with all of them, including Taylor and Brett’s and Jessica’s kids. I loved being around them. Grandparents have so much fun!

As we left Freddie’s, the cool air brushed our faces with a cool breeze. The atmosphere had changed from hot and humid -- most unbearable -- to cool, moist, and smelling like it does after a rain. This felt like heaven! We went back to the lodge and sat our lawn chairs in front of our cabin facing the river. We sat there for several hours, in the cool night breeze, watched as the lightning bugs started lighting up -- down by the trees by the river. Then they became more numerous and then it seemed like hundreds of lightning bugs flitting everywhere in the darkness. The kids began chasing them with Jessica helping them. Then Jessica, Taylor, and Brett played red light, green light with them and we watched and laughed at them and with them. More family members arrived and we chatted for a while. It was so beautiful and surreal with the occasional shooting star up above.

I thought about all the family reunions we have had in the Zook family throughout the years. It was so pleasant just sitting out there in the cool night air, the smell of the river, especially after the little shower, and the sight of the fireflies and the occasional shooting star; made me remember former days when our family sat all together on the river bank talking and laughing and loving each other. I had to go back at least 70 years.

They first began in the 1940s at my Uncle Warren Zook’s farm by the San Antonio River out in the Camp Ranch community. His farm was part of the original farmland that my Grandfather Zook bought back about 1906. His son Gary still lives on the farm. Those years the Zook Family Reunion was a whole weekend down by the river. All my aunts and uncles came then from all over Texas. Uncle Everett and his wife Alta from Houston, Aunt Maurine from Brownsville and then Houston, Aunt Ola Dee from Houston, Aunt Gladys (a Catholic nun who changed her name to Sister Agatha Linn), Uncle Warren and Aunt Janie. I remember sitting up late in the night, listening to the “old folks” laughing and talking, and my daddy and uncles telling “tall tales,” and my aunts arguing with them that the men had the story wrong. The same cool air was there, the same smells, and also the smell of the wood smoke from the fire drifted across us kids as we nodded and fell asleep on the pallets. The river brought all these memories back to me Friday night down on the Guadalupe River.

Our children started having their own “The Lawrence Zook Cousins Reunion” in 1979. Later they started inviting us parents to them. I guess they needed someone to cook and take care of the little kids. We didn’t mind. It gave us a reason to go too. So they continued to have them all these years -- every year or two.

Friday night everyone left to go to their cabins around midnight ... and I was sitting out there alone ... thinking “How come I am so lucky or blessed to still experience this at my age?” I could have sat out there by the river all night, but thinking I might need to go in and get a sweater or a blanket, it was that cool. It really was!

I remember those old days when I used to sit up and talk half the night with people. Now I do well to last till midnight! I knew I had to be rested for tomorrow because I had volunteered to baby-sit all the great-grandkids (six of them) while the adults went tubing on the Comal River. Yes, I am still doing the same thing I was in the ’80s. Only now it is the great-grandkids.

After more than 70 years of Zook Family Reunions, I was ready for one more day of memories. Tomorrow would be another one of those days!

Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at

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