Saturday, July 22, 2006
Memories to Store Up For Later
Several weeks ago Don and I scheduled a trip to take our daughter, Leslie camping. It would have been our last trip with her alone. She is due to deliver her first baby around 9/1. Jeremy was about to take off on his annual Canada fishing trip and we'd planned a few days in the woods with her. A few days before we were to leave for this trip we got an email from a dear old friend, Tom. He let us know he and Carlotta were expecting houseguests.

Hubert and Tris,our other dear friends from way back, would be driving up from Florida for a short visit.

Let me go back a bit. Tris is my "Purple Shoe Money" friend. Her husband, Hubert was Don's boss way back when. Now they're simply our precious friends. We met Tom and Carlotta back in 1988 I think. Over the years, as husbands got transferred around the country, we lost touch with them. We'd see Hubert and Tris now and then, and stayed in touch through email here and there. When I started up my blog I sent a little email to a small group of friends. To my surprise Tris let me know she was out there reading.
About a month ago Tris sent us a sad email, letting us know Carlotta had just received a diagnosis of early onset alzheimers. Carlotta is in her early 50's. Soon after that Tom emailed to let me know he was a regular reader of my blog! He told me he was especially ecnouraged reading about Sarah's journey with Addison. When we heard our four friends would all be in the same place, plans had to be changed. Let me say here, Don and I are NOT social people. In 25 years of marriage we have never gone to stay at anyone's home overnight. At least not anyone we aren't related to.
One diagnosis can change things. It was enough to stretch us socially. Leslie and her husband Jeremy urged us to change our plans; go to Indianapolis; enjoy time with our friends now. So we packed our bags, left Leslie - our houseguest - home alone with the dogs.
When we pulled up to their house there was such anticipation. Walking in the front door, we truly felt like celebrities. I can't remember the last time someone was that happy to see us. I can't tell you how happy we were to see them. Tears, giggles, big hugs all around.
Let me tell you - we squeezed in a lot of living in those 48 or so hours. We laughed at shared memories. Passed photos around to catch up. Tom made us dinner.
The men enjoyed cigars on the patio late at night

while we girls stayed inside and had some girl talk.
We got to meet Tom and Carlotta's newest family member, a 4 month old miniature schnauzer named Katie. We managed a trip to Starbucks, Old Navy, the men visited Costco. Tris bought a pair of Crocs!

We met another couple, Don and Becky, for a fabulous italian dinner one night.

Tom's version of dessert was two pecan pies and I managed to eat three pieces in two days. (Pecan pie makes a great breakfast.) We put together a scrapbook of Carlotta's retirement party for her to remember everyone later down the road. There was something so comforting and precious about heading up the stairs at night and telling everyone goodnight. Felt a little like the Waltons - "night John Boy." Waking up in the morning, seeing everyone's bedheads and sharing coffee, felt like family.
Seeing Hubert and Tris enjoy their retirement, their golden years together, gives Don and I a great model of where we want to head next in our journey. Watching Carlotta handle this diagnosis with humor and grace still brings me to tears to think of it. Her gentle acceptance of it, and realization of what is precious now, held many life lessons for Don and I. Sitting up late at night talking with Tom gave us a new snapshot of bravery and graciousness.
To have these dear, dear friends tell us / show us how much it meant to spend time with them was something I won't forget for a long time. To realize we might have missed it makes me pause to think of what else is here, now, that I might not notice. What is priceless? What is too precious to pass up?
We likely gained a bit of weight over the trip. We spent a little money. We missed a camping trip with Leslie. We can walk off the weight. The next paycheck will make up for the unplanned trip. Next year we'll take Leslie, Jeremy and Landon camping. Driving home for those six hours, listening to oldies music,

I can't even begin to describe how rich we felt to be friends with these precious people. Thank you Hubert and Tris, Tom and Carlotta for a visit we will treasure for years to come. Let's do it again - soon.


  posted at 10:00 AM

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