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Monday, July 6, 2015


     At 0630 on the morning after the holiday weekend I headed out to Alstead, NH to attend a reunion of a branch of the family.  It wasn't a part of the boisterous Cloutier clan.  It was on my mother's side.  A few years after the Civil War there were four Willis siblings who were farmed out to four different families in Alstead because the could not be taken care of by their parents.  They were officially listed in town documents as "paupers".  They all overcame their difficulties, and one, Frank Willis, became my great grandfather.  Cheryl Bisbee gets the credit for making the entire reunion event happen.

     I came away with a great, old, four-generation picture.

     In case you haven't guessed, I'm the one in short pants.  Behind me is my mother, Anna Gertrude (Smith) Cloutier. To her left is her mother, Lena (Willis) (Smith) Hutchinson.  To my right is my great grandfather and namesake, Frank Willis.

     After the festivities, I followed my sister to her home to spend the night so I could drive back to Maine the next day.  When I got up this morning, I made a cup of coffee and sat out on their deck.  They have a couple of dozen of bird feeders suspended well above the point the bears can reach.  Look who showed up to scavenge the seeds that the birds dropped.

     I quietly stood up (so I could see over the railing) and took the following pictures of our visitor:

     Rarely a day goes by without a visit from these critters.  My sister has a wonderful home.

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