In July we set off on a road trip to Ocean Springs, Mississippi for a Baker family reunion. It was actually for the annual Pat Baker Football League fantasy football draft, but I call it a reunion because it was the first time in nearly 7 years that all of us were together. We’re not the best at staying in touch or visiting for holidays, but if there’s one thing that my family can count on to keep us together it’s football.
The league was started as a way to honor the life of my Mom’s mother, Pat Baker. She was the glue that held our family together and after her death, I think everyone was a little unsure how we would all stay tight knit. Football had always been something that bonded and connected us, so it comes as no surprise that twenty years later it is football that continues to bring us together.
Our hosts were my Uncle Kyle and Aunt Jonncie. They braved hosting the entire group of Bakers, and trust me, that is no easy feat. We’re loud. We’re wild. We drink. And yet, they managed day after day to provide us with amazing Southern food and of course ample booze to keep us cool in the hot Mississippi sun.
We’re loud. We’re wild. We drink.
Mitch got to meet my Mom’s side of the family, and he was properly vetted by my Mom’s three brothers. I was worried that his quiet nature would keep my family from getting to know him, but I was pleasantly surprised that he and my family both made an effort to get to know each other in the short time we were given. It also helped that football was the center of conversation a lot of the time and he, like my family, enjoyed humorous jabs and smack talk regarding the upcoming NFL season.
We brought our dogs with us and they got to see the beach for the very first time! Roka, who has become a total water dog in the last few years, loved swimming in the ocean once he conquered his initial fears. And Shasta was just happy to bask in the sun, her all-time favorite activity.
For me, the best part of the trip was getting to reconnect with family members. My Uncles Darin, Kyle, Jeff, and I had a hilarious time tag teaming Mississippi Stud at the casino with my parents, and the next day we all had a pretty good laugh at my cousin Gracie’s ironically un-graceful fall into the pool. Unforgettable moments like that made the long drive totally worth it.