We’ve tried hard to set up an every-other-year cadence for Jenson gatherings, starting with a Sunriver gathering in 2013, and continuing with a lakeside retreat in 2015. The news of Dorothy’s cancer prognosis threw a wrench in this rhythm – if she was going to make it to any more, it’d have to be right away.
This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.
So we gathered everybody in Washougal in mid-May. The house is big enough to fit everybody, although it started to feel small during the day, when even the local families came over, so we made use of the outdoors as well. There was a campfire pretty much every day, and a family friend hooked us up with access to her swimming pool. One day there was a giant slip-and-slide.
Dorothy even taught a painting class for the kids. They all put Ken’s old Tri-Met work shirts on backwards for smocks, and painted a version of Starry Night. They had a ton of fun, and the paintings turned out really great.
We even staged the traditional Jenson clan talent show! This time it was just kids performing, and a wide variety of talents were showcased, from music to dramatic poetry readings. Little Sen treated us to some interpretive dance.
It’s hard to capture the full breadth of this event, even with dozens of photos. Touching moments were happening around every corner. A literal ton of great food was consumed, hundreds of games played, and every kid made a T-shirt that everyone else signed.
We knew Dorothy’s time was limited, and we wanted to make sure all the kids’ last memories of her were happy. This was the last time we were all in one place together, and I think we did a pretty good job of making it memorable and fun.