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2004 Reunion


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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Donna and I left the Denver area on Wednesday, the 15th, well ahead of our previous schedules. I was having a rough time sitting for long periods of time and we wanted to be sure that we would get to Polo before we were due there regardless of how much extra time we had to take. In spite of our plan to take it easy which included a departure at approximately 9:30 am, Mountain Time, we had a great, enjoyable day visiting and enjoying the sights. We were so caught up in our trip, we drove past our intended limit of Omaha and then couldn't find our beautiful hotel at which we had spent the night the year before in Des Moines. We called the Ronald Reagan Inn in Dixon, Illinois and asked if they could accommodate us if we arrived there that night. They said "yes" and assured us it would not disturb them if we arrived very late. We checked in at 3:00 am on Thursday morning.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

We scouted the Maxson's Restaurant on the Rock River in Oregon, Illinois at which Jim O'Kane had made reservations for us for Sunday's reunion luncheon. We traveled first to The Old Brick Church near Polo where our ancestors attended services. I wanted to make sure we knew the way to the reunion luncheon from the church before we had to rely on my computer generated maps. Everything went fine and we found a delightful lodge style inn with a riverboat dock and an immaculate, large dining room. The riverboat was beautiful and the setting typical of riverfronts in Illinois.

We spent the balance of the day driving the neighborhoods of Polo, Oregon, Dixon and other towns and really afforded ourselves an opportunity to get to know the towns rather than just the restaurants and the hotels. We also found a new cemetery in Dixon on the east side. The main offices were closed so we had no access to the index. But, we were betting that we had relatives there.

Friday, September 17, 2004

We were excited about today. Ray and Helen (O'Kane) Adams were to join us at the Ronald Reagan Inn after they picked up Judy (O'Kane) Grogan. Prior to that, we drove Dixon again and journeyed to Shabbona to visit Dick and Nellie O'Kane. Nellie had just returned from the hospital and was too ill to attend the reunion. We visited them in their home. A reunion trip wouldn't be the same without Dick and Nellie. We are so glad they felt like company and allowed us to visit.

Ray, Helen and Judy arrived that afternoon and we had a short get-together in the lobby of the hotel. We were also joined by Bill and Carol Hey who arrived from Springfield that afternoon too. We all traveled to The Brown Shingle north of our hotel for dinner. The hostess there was kind enough to take this picture for us. From left to right, they are me (Ron) and Donna O'Kane, Judy Grogan, Helen and Ray Adams, and Carol and Bill Hey. This most enjoyable meal was followed by another more lengthy get-together in the lobby. Many family stories have been imparted in that room and it was an ideal chance to get caught up with family affairs.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Saturday was another special day. We had lunch with Bud and Phyl Davis in Polo at the Mason Family Restaurant. Lyle and Jan Schryver joined us for this occasion and another great visit was enjoyed by all. Phyl plays the organ at The Old Brick Church and we all looked forward to hearing her performance the next day, Sunday. Around the table from left to right are Ron (me) O'Kane, Helen (O'Kane) Adams, Carol and Bill Hey, Lyle Schryver, Ray Adams, Jan Schryver, Bud Davis, Judy (O'Kane) Grogan, Phyl Davis and Donna O'Kane. Bud and Phyl have an insurance agency just down the street from the restaurant.

They had an interesting display depicting old ways of referencing to the left of the door and the new, modern ways which included computers to the right of the door. My, what clever relatives we have!

After our luncheon at Masons, we stopped by for a visit at Lyle and Jan's Polo residence. Their home was indeed as charming as they are. Somehow, we failed to get a picture, however, and I apologize for that.

Over lunch, we had made it known that we found another cemetery in Dixon and that we probably had relatives there. Someone suggested that there were Hey and Ware family graves there. Ray and Helen Adams and Judy Grogan joined us on the quest. We tried again to find them that afternoon and luck was with us. We found them both on our first pass through this incredibly large cemetery. We found the graves of Fannie (1886-1982) and William Ware (1874-1961) and Henry (1887-1955) and Mabelle Hey (1885-1965). We could not believe our incredible fortune to find these graves -- totally by accident or good luck, I assure you! 

Henry and Mabelle Hey are not in our database in the family genealogy. Someone will have to enlighten me as to how they are related to the Heys that we do have on record.

Later that evening, we departed the hotel for the Appleby's Restaurant in Sterling, east of the Ronald Regan Hotel. It's a wonder we all didn't gain weight on this trip. It seems like eating is the thing we did with the most frequency. Then, back to the hotel for our next lobby get-together.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

As always, this third Sunday of September is the reunion day. Our first trip was to services at the Old Brick Church north of Polo. Services were early, but this time, we were aware of their altered schedule. These folks have their main services at 9:00 am in order to share their Pastor, Randy Hayes with other churches in the area. I've said it before, but there is something awesome about sitting in the same pews in which 6 generations before you sat. The services were great. 

Following church services, we headed out on the route we had verified to the Maxon Restaurant in Oregon for our luncheon. The buffet was great, exceeded only by the pleasure of the company we enjoyed. Service was attentive but not overpowering as they attended to our needs for beverages and utensils. The food prepared on the buffet tables was warm and really well prepared. It was most enjoyable. From left to right around the table are Ray Adams (missing and obviously, the photographer), Helen Adams, Bill and Carol Hey, Donna and Ron O'Kane, Maxine (almost invisible) and Jim O'Kane, Judy Grogan and Jan and Lyle Schryver.


The luncheon was followed by a trip back to Polo where we visited Bob and Thelma Hedrick at their farm. Bob was not feeling all that well and was unable to attend the reunion. Other folks absent were Dick and Nellie O'Kane and Ken and Helen O'Kane.

There is always a sadness at the end of the reunion luncheon as this seems to be always the time for good-byes for another year.

After that.....

We traveled to Sycamore on Monday and visited Ken after we had stopped at the Assisted Living facility where we visited Helen. We were so grateful to see them both. Ken passed away shortly after the reunion on the 26th of October. We also spent a few days with Donna's sister and her family in De Kalb. As always, it was a great visit and most enjoyable to spend the time with that family.

We journeyed south and came home via I-70 instead of the more direct route we usually take on I-80. We wanted to visit Goodland, KS and see if we might like to relocate there, and then the plan was to stop by Holly and visit with Judy and Russell. However, while in Goodland, we received a call that our grand-son's wife's grandmother had died back in Denver. Also, because I was already having trouble with the increased altitude, we skipped our trip to Holly and returned straight to our home. Hopefully, Judy and Russell will allow us to visit at some future time.

2004 Reunion: Inner_about
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