Family continues 60-year legacy (video)
FANNIN - Miles down a winding dirt road in Fannin sits an old hunting lodge and a shade tree.
Nestled in an endless sea of sunflowers, the Robinson family, from the 1-month-old grandbaby to 88-year-old Uncle Calvin, sat under the shade tree singing hymns.
"If I shed a tear, it is because the Robinson family reunion was started 60 years ago by my mother and my father, Lola Green Robinson and William Robinson. They had 10 children. ... Why I am shedding a tear today is because there are only two children left - my sister Lillian and myself. Between us, we have some 173 years," said Calvin Robinson, the oldest surviving family member.
The reunion is all about continuing a legacy, Robinson said, as one of the children came up and wrapped her arms around his legs.
The first time Robinson's dad hosted an official reunion at the Robinson Ranch, which has belonged to the family since the mid 1800s, Robinson was 28 years old, and about 30 family members showed up.
This year, more than 100 people came to the reunion, some from as far away as North Carolina and Missouri.
"The legacy is for the kids - that they know their family, and they get to know their ancestors through stories and their history. It is important they know where they came from," said Kenneth Cunningham, president of the Robinson Family Reunion Club.
The club collects dues from each family to help maintain the family property and plans the weekendlong party, which includes a fish fry, swimming in the river, bingo, balloon tosses, singing and barbecuing.
"It is undivided property; that is just the way it is. It will always stay in the family, and everyone will always have a little piece of it," Cunningham said, hoping the younger generation will continue to take care of the land for a long time to come.
"They love it like we loved it growing up. It is something you have to pass on to the next generation - the love for coming together," added Cunningham, who has missed only one family reunion since he was born, and it was to see the birth of his own son in 1987.
As the weekend came to a close, Calvin Robinson sat under the old tree, enjoying the slight breeze, and he pointed to a spot down the hill.
"I grew up here; we lived about a mile over there. It was on this ranch. This is our ranch. This is the Robinson Ranch," he said proudly.