Only Good Friday

Happy Father’s Day – “Only The Good” Friday

Happy Father’s Day Dad!  My daddy has been gone for over 20 years, but he’s remembered in my mind’s eye… often.  On this “Only the Good Friday,” I want to celebrate my Father… James Woodrow DiStefano.


Don’t you think my dad was a good looking man…. actually movie star material?

Last night, I attended the DiStefano family reunion planning meeting.  As the meeting progressed,  my thoughts went back to my Dad’s nonstop effort in getting an estranged family together after many years of separation.


My father, James, was the third child in a family of nine children… eight boys and one girl.   (He’s the second from the right.)   Dad’s family suffered through the depression, like so many others in rural Tabiona, Utah.  His father abandoned his mother and the children, so Dad took on the role of Father and bread winner.  He worked in a government CC camp, building a dam. 

Just before he reached his twenty-first birthday, his mom pass away.   The  younger children were farmed out to be raised by relatives and friends.   As time went on, the children married, but due to distance and circumstances… they had an “on and off” relationship with each other.

Dad felt it was important to get the family together to heal old wounds.   The first couple of years were sparse in number but the numbers eventually grew.  Now we have well over 100 family members that annually meet in Tabiona for two days of games, a raffle, dancing and of course feasting…. and feast we do.  We have been gathering as a family for over 35 years now.


All of the original family members, except one,  are gone now… but a great legacy has been left. (Dad is on the far right.)  Extended family members  may not see each other all year long but when we come together at the family reunion it feels friendly, comfortable and “at home.”

On this “Good” Friday before Father’s day,  I want to say, “Thanks, Dad for having the love and foresight to bring an estranged family together for a “Good” time.  Those who have gone on, would glad to know that we have continued this tradition in your absence.

Hope this Father’s Day finds you with a “Good” relationship or “Good” memories of your dad too.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  For other “OtGF”  news, visit our host, Shelly, over at This Eclectic Life. And of course, go see my my sister, Sheila at Newbie Lifeline. We share the same “Dad.”  We come from a family of 6 girls.  Poor Daddy.  However, he never made us feel like he was disappointed in not having a son… another one of Dad’s “Good” qualities.

Family Gatherings

DiStefano Family Reunion 08

The DiStefano Famiy Reunion was held in Tabiona, Utah. It was the hometown of my grandparents, Girolamo and Kathrine DiStefano, from the 20’s to early 40’s. They moved out to the rural, eastern part of the state to “bootleg” during the prohibition… but that’s another story for another day.

Their children were raised in this quiet little valley… but moved away when they reached adulthood. Wanting to return to their “roots,” five of the nine children purchased property for trailers or cabins on Tabby Mt. overlooking this serene little valley. We have held our three day family reunion here for over 25 years… and that agenda will never change.

Since family members wander in at different times on Friday evening, a casual hot dog roast is held. The family members who show up, gather round the fire and tell stories and slap mosquitoes.

Saturday morning activities begin with the children’s games and water slide. The adult horse shoe competition kicks off… and runs for two days. This year the older kids participated in first family rendition of “The Amazing Race.” (See Video) The kids had a ball! We play and chat until around 2:30… then the crowd scatters to go back to their abodes to prepare the for evening feast.

Around 4:30, a banquet is placed on the table and everyone lines up to chow down. Sometimes a pig is put on a spit and other times, we prepare the meat ahead of time. There is always plenty to eat… and eat..and eat. Did I say there is always plenty to eat?

The dance in the town hall begins around 8:00 but nobody shows up until around 9:00. We have a live band and all. The kids have a great time dancing… bunny hopping and doing the “wipe out” thing. We stop for a bit to raffle off a sleeping bag for the kids. Check the little bitty sleeping bag winner. The bag is bigger than she is.

We then… raffle off a quilt for the adults. You don’t want to win the quilt though… cause if you do… your in charge of the “quilt raffle” the next year. I love quilts… but not so much that I want to win and take on the responsibility of coming up with a suitable quilt. These quilts aren’t shabby!

My son Wade, engraves a hunting knife every year for the men. The guys buy lots of tickets for a chance to win this one. It’s truly a collectors item. We dance until midnight then back up the mountain for a good nights sleep.

Up and running the next morning… cause the “Big raffle” starts at 10:00. Nobody seems to make it on time…. too tired from all that dancing. Raffle tickets are purchased right up until the last minute. Everyone donates prizes and gifts… some for the adults and some for the kids. Can you see by the expression on these faces…this is serious business.

Here’s the kicker… You don’t want to be holding the winning number for the last prize… which are camping chairs. Yep… you guest it… if you win… you are in charge of the raffle then next year. Can you tell by the look on my two boys faces how they feel about winning the chairs?

Home for lunch and back to the general meeting by 2:00. Need to count the money and plan for next year. Yea!… We made our expenses and a few bucks over. Through the years, we’ve built a nice little nest egg. Now that’s away to run a Family Reunion… in the black.

Hmmm… about 52 kids…and 48 adults. A little smaller than last year. Must be those darn gas prices.

Whew!…. it’s over. Are you tired yet? I sure am.

Till Later
Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. I think I’ll take another nap… I still haven’t recovered from our fun Family Reunion.

As I See It

Family Reunion Planning

Family reunion planning can get in you in a whole lot of trouble…if you let it. And, I let it. I always offer to do more than I really have time for. Every year I swear I won’t offer to do a thing… but in the planning meeting, my resolve seems to fly off to another planet.

The DiStefano Family Reunion is always held the second week-end of July. Some of the members of the family meet in May to put the final touches on the family reunion plans and that’s when I get duped.

But… just take a look at those Mafia Dons… who wants to mess with them? Don’t you think Jack (the one with the gray and black beard looks like Michael in the God Father?) Who would want to cross Michael. And…look at Bill… He means business!

Anyway… we have a WOP ing good time and I give you a full report when I get back in a few days.

Till Later
Kathy Griffiths

P.S. Just take a lot at those “noses.” Is it any wonder why we’re DiStef a nose.