David Peck

A snowy family gathering in Riverton

It was actually quite balmy as we gathered in Riverton for our great Peck family Thanksgiving Wednesday. It was the largest gathering of Roy Peck family members ever – thanks to the addition of spouses and grandchildren and a determination by our scattered clan to be together at least one more time.

Folks flew and/or drove from Los Angeles, Sequoia National Park, Las Vegas, Greeley, Colorado, and Flagstaff, Arizona, to name a few of the places our family calls home. Counting Susan’s folks in Riverton, our group ranged in age from 88 years to 15 months (little Leroy).

We knew some snow was coming, but as we played backyard basketball and gathered for a memorial service on Wednesday, the ground was dry. Thankfully, the ground was still bare that same evening when the sewer pipe coming off the old house on Park Avenue clogged due to tree roots and the sudden surge of use, and a plumber was called, working well into the evening on his Thanksgiving Eve.

It began to snow on Thanksgiving morning, a dusting at first, and we figured we might see four inches or so. How wrong we were. It kept snowing and snowing and snowing until all of our cars and pickups were snow-covered by early afternoon and totally buried by that evening.

According to media reports, Riverton received 19 inches of snow in 24 hours – a town record – and by Thanksgiving night and the next morning, our cars were entombed in a foot and a half of snow, giant blobs of white at rest just off the driveway. On Friday morning, nephew Terry, a contractor, used his metal tape measure to measure non-drifted snow atop his pickup. Yep, 18 inches, and with the snow continuing to fall on Friday, we guessed central Fremont County received 20 inches in all.

Fortunately, the snow was light, a typical Wyoming dry deposit, and while it was cold outside, our hearts were warmed inside as we ate, talked, snapped photos, watched football, laughed at grandkids playing and just enjoyed being with each other. There were 29 of us for Thanksgiving dinner. There’s nothing like it.

And once we departed, all made it home safely.

Over the years, gathering at our family home base, we’ve endured frigid temperatures that froze water and heating system pipes and heavy snow that brought down tree limbs. But in a way, such conditions only add to the warmth of the occasion – and create stories to tell for years to come.

It’s Wyoming: sometimes foul weather and challenging conditions, but also strong family ties that bind us together and create lasting memories.

We will certainly have stories to tell at future family functions. I can hear it now: “Yep, I remember the Thanksgiving of 2023. It’s amazing we survived!”

Great times. And as visited and laughed and shared stories and hugged little ones, we could feel it in our hearts that my mom and dad, Margaret and Roy, along with sister Betsy, were looking down upon us – and smiling.