Last year when Bob, Connie and I were included in the reunion of the John and Margaret Braden Family I thought it can’t get any better than this. With all the laughter and so much food that they could have fed an army battalion. Was I ever wrong. Saturday, Connie and I, again was a part of the get together. Bob had looked forward to this for a whole year and didn’t get to attend due to a stomach virus. The kind that strikes without warning.

Saturday morning wasn’t fit for man or beast. I didn’t worry because knowing Shirley I knew she would have it all figured out how she was going to handle the crowd. And I was right. She has one of the cleanest garages that I have ever seen, no clutter and it was there that tables were set up. After last year I didn’t think we would see as much food, food that was so good, I could have eaten until supper time and stayed for that meal. I really didn’t eat as much as I wanted to because I had no room for it. Shirley is a wonderful cook and loves doing it plus she has help from the other sisters, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and outlaws, I certainly can’t forget her brother Bill who makes the coffee. I asked Shirley how many people were there and her answer, "A LOT" and there was. The little ones who were just crawling last year were running all over the place. I don’t think I have ever seen so many little ones in one place that have such beautiful curly hair. It must run in the Braden Family because when Bob was little and had hair his was curly, Connie, too, has curly hair except she keeps hers straightened. Same goes for my Grands, and some of the Greats.

My Mother-in-law was a Braden. Her parents immigrated from Germany and Mrs. Hughart (Grandma) was born in Rich Hill, Missouri. When she was a small child she and her Mother went back to Germany and did not return until Grandma was thirteen. She told me of herding geese and delivering bread (unwrapped) to the customers of the bakery run by her Mother’s family. In later years, after their return to this country, Grandpa Braden homesteaded some land in Oklahoma. Grandma told me one night she was awakened by a lot of loud talking. Grandpa Braden got everyone up, loaded what they could in their wagon and left Oklahoma. The family ended up in the Fidelity Community. She said that she never did know what the mob was doing at their house in the middle of the night. Grandpa and Grandma Braden raised a large family of four boys, Fred, Charlie, Frank and John. Five girls, Annie Hughart, Nell Cathers, Minnie Quillman, Ernie Edwards, and Daisy Pierce. They lost one baby girl who was a twin to Ernie. My understanding was the family had a new shuck mattress where they laid the baby. There was a snake in the mattress and it bit the baby causing its death. All the children in that family were wonderful people. I have never heard one thing bad about any of them. I know for sure all the girls became wonderful cooks. Now I don’t know about Daisy because she was not in Greenwood after I came into the family. I know for sure that Annie, Nell, and Minnie were, especially at Christmas time when they baked the delicious German Christmas breads.

I am so proud of Shirley Braden Duvall for seeing that her family are all together at least once a year. I know she had to be tired but one would never know it as she was so busy in the kitchen smiling all the time. When I asked her about it her answer, "I LOVE IT" The hard part of all of this is I will have to wait another three hundred sixty-five days for another John and Margaret Braden Family get together. In the mean time I will just have to eat my own cooking.