Sunday, December 17, 2017

Burdick Family Christmas Party - 2017

Sacramento, CA

Burdick Family Christmas Party, 2017

Around 75 of us gathered together yesterday for the 2017 Burdick Family Christmas Party.  This is the first one I have been able to attend since my dad’s brother, affectionately known as “Uncle Red” to my family, and more affectionately known as “Grampa Froggy” to his family, started this tradition after I moved away from Sacramento in the mid-80's.  Leroy (Uncle Red) is no longer with us on this earth, so dad (Uncle Al to the other side of the family and is in the front row, far right) is the oldest Burdick.  But Aunt Florence’s mother Fern, sitting in the middle with the Christmas Red coat on, was the oldest person there at age 95…and next to her on her right, picture left, is Arny’s mother Euleda, who is also 95.  Aunt Flo is on the other side of her mother sitting next to my mom.  All of my brothers and sisters are there, and five of the eight children of Uncle Red and Aunt Flo were able to attend.  Cousin Cynthia got sick and just could not make it, cousin Barbara lives in Italy and, and Cousin Michelle was unable to make it, but I never did hear why.  So there easily could have been another ten people there had they and their children all attend (Most of Cynthia’s kids were there), and also missing were two of my children, my brother Bob’s daughter and kids…so I think we could have made 100 had all been able to attend.  Had this been on my mom's side of the family...well, I don't have a wide enough lens to capture all of them...however, my cousin Donald, who is the same age as me, came.

Mom, Dad, Jim, Bob, Roger, Dave (me), Patti and Sandy 

For the first time in nearly ten years all of my brothers and sisters and mom and dad were able to all be in the same place at the same time!  Seems that there has always been one of us who was unable to make previous opportunities…but this time it happened.  Mom and dad in the front row, Patti, Sandy and Bob right behind them, and Jim, Roger and me (Dave) in the back row (all left to right).  The order of age for the kids is Jim, Bob, Roger, Dave, Patti and Sandy.  Many times when dad needed one of us to do something, he would go down the list of kids verbally, in order, then when he got to the end, pick out the one name he was looking for and say that name, and then say something like, “Could you take out the garbage…”  It would sound something like this, “Jim, Bob, Roger, David, Sandy (all said very quickly)…uh David, could you take out the garbage please...”  Yes, I missed Patti because she did not get adopted into the family until mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Sandy was adopted when she was 6 years old, and they are biologically half sisters…but in reality they are sisters to us boys as if they were with us from birth.

Cousin BillTo the left is my cousin Bill, the oldest boy of Uncle Red and Aunt Florence.  He has a striking resemblance of Uncle Red…at times it is a bit eerie.  Bill is just a few months older than I am, and for the most part he grew up in Sacramento, so we had many “adventures” together…such as the time he taught me to shoot arrows with his bow…and I put an arrow right into the side of the doughboy pool that the wood, which I was aiming for, piled up against.  When I told Uncle Red, he just looked at me and says, “$400 pool, ‘splat’! “ as he takes his thumb and moves it over his shoulder as if he was an umpire calling a runner out at first base.  Of course, that made it worse for me because I am thinking, “How will I ever pay them the $400 for this pool which I just ruined!”, not knowing that it can be patched up for a mere couple of dollars….  Then there is the story of when I shot him in the leg with a BB gun...  And the time I went hunting with him and two of his friends and learned to not say, "There is a squirrel behind us..." as they all turn around with their shot guns and try and blow this little squirrel to kingdom come...with my head and ears right between two shotgun barrels as they go BOOM.  Then there is the time...well...there were lots of times.

Aunt Flo, Mom, Dad, and image of Bill who looks like Uncle Red

So with the ‘power of Photoshop’, I am able to take a head shot of Bill, place it in the empty chair (that I had vacated to take this picture) between my parents and Aunt Flo, and bring “Uncle Red” into the reunion too!  (Disclaimer:  The first picture was also Photoshopped because I had to include the “picture taker” who insisted on not being in the group photo because “someone has to operate the camera” even though I was going to use the timer.  So I just told her that I was going to put her in there anyway, and she was fine with that.)  Uncle Red (1924-2009) had four children when Aunt Myrtle (1925-1966) passed away from cancer…Aunt Flo had three very young kids when Leroy proposed to her in 1967.  They had one child together in 1968, and Leroy adopted the three kids.  There is 13 years difference between the eight children, there is 8 years difference between all of my brothers and sisters, and together, there is 19 years between my oldest brother and my youngest cousin, a total of 14 grandchildren from Edwin (1893-1967) and Edna (1899-1963) Burdick.

Aunt Flo and Brother Bob
My brother Bob catered the party, and he is pictured here in the church’s kitchen talking with Aunt Flo.  Bob is the brother who got me into the Restaurant business back when I was 16 years old.  He now works for a Steel Company, but still caters parties and especially weddings a few times each year strictly through ‘word of mouth’.  He did a wonderful job with the food, as usual.

Burdick Christmas Party 2017    Burdick Christmas Party 2017
Burdick Christmas Party 2017    Burdick Christmas Party 2017

MealAs everyone was enjoying the meal of New York Loin Roast, Ham, Chicken, shrimp, and a variety of veggies, bread and of course, dessert, I took these four pictures above from the four corners of the social hall of the church where we gathered at.  As with all my pictures, if you click on a picture, it opens up to larger view of the picture. 

Christmas Gift Game

After eating and picture taking, some of the people bid their farewells…while others stay and play the Christmas Gift Game.  Those who stayed and played, about 35 players, about 50 people stayed, sit around a circle, the gifts put out in the center.  Players all have a number from 1 to 35, and pick and open a gift in order.  If you don’t like what you got, you can exchange with anyone who has already opened a gift…affectionately called “a steal”.  This young great granddaughter of Aunt Flo was eyeing which gift to open…but her ‘real eyes’ were glued to the gift that her cousin has between his legs to the far left in the picture.  Yep, she stole it, and was able to hang onto it to the end (who would want to break her little heart by stealing it from her?)

Dave and Sherri MacDonald and childrenI wish I had a better picture, but I had to include this little tidbit too.  Dave MacDonald, upper left in photo hiding behind his wife and daughter in-law, is the son of my Grandma Edna’s younger brother Laurence Albert MacDonald (1911-2001), better known as “Uncle Mac”, the owner of the Sacramento Wheel Service which I blogged about a few months ago.  In a sense, for my generation, these family Christmas parties started way back at his house. Every Christmas Eve family would gather at Dave’s house for an equally wonderful Christmas Party.  They had a basement, unusual for Sacramento, and in it was a “game room”.  Unlike today’s game rooms, full Bumper Poolof electronic games, it has a Bumper Pool Table (like the one pictured right since many people don’t know what one looks like anymore), Dart Board, and all sorts of things to play with…and being in the basement, us kids could almost get as loud as we wanted…with reason of course (and yes, sometimes we would cross that line and an adult had to come down to remind us to be good.)  Dave’s boys and their wives and their grandchildren all came to the party too…it was sure nice to see them again…and I sure treasure those Christmas Eve memories at Uncle Mac and Aunt Mavis’s (1914-2007) house.


The Jared Burdick and myselfchurch this was held in was one which all of us was raised in, but we actually attended the downtown Sacramento location more than here.  It is a lovely church built by the members back in the ‘60’s.  The chapel is lovely, and decked out for Christmas.  But the best thing was seeing relatives, like my brother Bob’s son Jared, who I had not seen for many, many years.  Thanks go out to Aunt Flo for keeping this tradition alive…and although we won’t make it next year, I am sure we will be back for future Burdick Christmas Parties.


  1. How cool is that to have such a large family!! Glad your get together was such a success!!!

    1. It was so there around 11 am and left after 5, so nice seeing everyone.


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