The stockings were placed by the agave with care

It wasn’t a typical white Christmas. Seventeen members and three generations of the Wood Family Reunion had hung their homemade stockings on a giant agave (desert plant) at Grapevine Canyon Ranch, Pearce, Arizona. They were celebrating their semi-annual reunion by taking over the entire ranch (kids must be 12) – an intimate working cattle ranch with riding, roping, soaking up history and relaxing.

The Wood reunion began when T.R. (Dick), the patriarch decided that he wanted family gatherings to be less centered around dishes and bed making and more quality family togetherness. His solution was adventurous reunions distant from any one family’s home.

The retired Corning Glass ceramics engineer decided to organize the reunions, “threw in” hosting and gave his family a reunion every-other-year. Between reunions everyone explores their own area – Seattle, Calgary, New York and Texas – looking for ideal reunion locations. A popular evening activity is showing slides from these independent forays. The process seems to work. They’ve stayed on a smaller dude ranch in Montana and rafted the Rougue River in Oregon, some sleeping under the stars. They look for places with interesting nearby attractions. Grapevine Canyon Ranch is close to Tombstone, “the town too tough to die,” Bisbee a quaint mining-town-turned-artists’-colony and historic trails that criss cross the 10,000 ranch. Friendly ranch hands point out sites where Chief Cochise, Geronimo and the US Cavalry once clashed.

Dick Wood found a dude ranch a good choice for pleasing three generations with horses for experienced and novice riders along with excellent accommodations.