At Perry Wellness Center, the Perry family legacy is considered to be the establishment of a wellness and recovery program for individuals with mental health and substance abuse problems. Staff and peers consider themselves part of the extended Perry family as they work and learn to continue this legacy.
But there is another extended Perry family with its own legacy. The family is the descendants and other relatives of Clarence and Mary Eula Perry of Buena Vista, Georgia. One of its legacies is the annual Thanksgiving gathering at the family farm.
The tradition began over 60 years ago, when the Perry family shared its Thanksgiving table with friends and family. The first celebrations were held at the family home. But as the guest list grew Eldridge Perry made plans to move the annual gathering to Tazewell, where family acreage was developed into Perry’s Pleasant Pastures. The family built a storage and cooking barn on the property, followed by minimal sleeping quarters, Further expansion brought a spacious kitchen, expanded serving and sleeping arrangements, and restrooms.
With ample facilities and a growing extended family, the annual Perry family Thanksgiving Reunion has become a celebration of the blessings and hardy work ethic of the Perry family, which includes Stuart, Pam, and Amanda Perry. At this year’s celebration, guests gathered under a clear sky to greet each other and offer thanks before the meal.
Steve Perry, son of the late Bill Perry, a major supporter of Perry Wellness Center, offered a formal welcome to guests who had traveled from locations throughout the state. “We are happy to see you all again.” he said. “We welcome the excitement of the new generation of our family along with other guest children. Let’s have a great day with much food.”
He continued, “We have other things scheduled for the day. I want to thank Mary Polly for her efforts to ready this farm for our use and celebration. I am going to ask Stuart Perry to return thanks.” As part of the annual tradition, Stuart said grace, with a special thanks to God for His many blessings.
Before the meal began, the 64 assembled guests gathered on the western pond hill for the annual reunion photo. Several who attended are not shown in the photo, as they were completing a important task of preparing a bountiful Thanksgiving meal for all assembled.
After the meal, the adults relaxed and enjoyed catching up with relatives. Children enjoyed a country hayride and traveled to see the annual Sugar Tree, decorated by Mary Polly Perry Oxford, daughter of the Perrys who established this welcome family tradition. As the saying goes, a good time was had by all!