Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Kick Off!

Here it is, Monday morning, and I'm writing about the kickoff I had for the past weekend. A bit out of sync, timing is off -all things that are pretty much traits of mine though and if you read my posts fairly regularly, you know that's pretty much the way I tend to roll.

In truth, I intended to write about this stuff Friday night -which would have made the title then very relevant. But you know too by now how easily I get distracted from doing things I think I'm gonna do, things I'm gonna write about and well, that's pretty much what happened here yet again!

But because the events of Thursday and Friday were such that they -along with the whole weekend too -added up to something really special for me, I figured what the heck, I'll write about all of it today!

Thursday afternoon, I had a phone call from a guy who had graduated from high school with me and who I had seen once in the past almost 50 years now since we left school! He was one of the kids from town here and I had gone through all my school days with him. I knew him, yes, but yet, didn't really know him all that well because he lived in the opposite end of our little village -about a mile up the road or perhaps a bit more than a mile so he wasn't a kid I associated with all the time.

The first time I saw him after graduation was at our 45th class reunion five years ago this coming June and I found myself totally enjoying conversing with him and his wife. When I phone him this past fall when we began making our initial plans for our 50th reunion, we talked more -comparing notes about our lives, families and such -all a very enjoyable conversation.

That he phoned me this past Thursday to see if there were any changes to the information I had previously given him about our class reunion plans, we once again got into lots of talk about life today, things we've done/experienced over the years and again, the similarities in our lives became evident even though he left the village right after graduation to join the Navy and after he finished his tour of duty, went to Cleveland where he found a good job, met his wife, raised a family -all that stuff that sometimes people who leave here often feel makes them a tad above those of us who stayed here and remained the proverbial "Country friends" ya know.

But Tom isn't like that! He's still the down home guy I knew way back when! And it was so much fun -again -to chat with him and catch up a bit more as well as expanding on our knowledge of ourselves and many of our shared friends from the past too.

Then, Friday -late in the afternoon, there came another phone call. Mandy answered the phone and as she handed it to me, she whispered the name of the caller -a male, who she doesn't know at all, but who just happens to be one of the most important friends from my much younger years!

Another country heard from -as that old saying goes!

Gene is two years my senior and I think in the past 50 plus years, I've seen him two times!

His Dad was our high school prinicipal plus he and his Dad also belonged to the same church as did my family. Back in those good old days, the group that was for the young people -the teens -was then called the Luther League and not only did Gene always attend those meetings but he was a very talented musician (piano and organ) and he had also served for two years back in the late 50s, early 60s, as our church organist and choir director too.

And aside from those things, he also had a fantastic personality and terrific sense of humor. Sometimes, it maybe could have been referred to as a sense of devilment too as he could think of a lot of prank-type things to pull too!

Anyway, it was so much fun to talk to him again! I've sort of kept tabs on a bit about his life after he too left this area because I'm good friends with a cousin of his and she has tried to keep me somewhat up-to-date on his life. He left the area to go to college, married the summer he graduated from college and from that point on, went on to become a very, VERY successful engineer, owner of his own company, inventor of many items and very well off too! Today he lives on the opposite side of our country so his visits back east are very infrequent which explains how I've had few opportunities over the years to see him and visit in person.

But his call on Friday was to talk to me about the cookbook our women's group at our church had put together last summer and fall. Seems his cousin here had purchased a copy of the cookbook and sent it to Gene and his wife as a Christmas gift and he wanted to call and tell me how much he had been enjoying looking through the book, that he and his wife had prepared several of the recipes in the book -of particular interest to them were several of the recipes of Swedish origin which they had made and he reported that his grandchildren had loved the items they had fixed!

He also went on to say how enjoyable it was for him to look through the book, view the photo dedication page we had put in there and how seeing so many faces once very familiar to him growing up and then, also to read many of the various recipes and recognize so many names there too. He congratulated me for what he felt had been a job well done and as you can imagine, those words did my ego a whole lot of rebuilding!

We chatted about some of the funny things we'd shared back in our school days and he inquired too about my best friend and neighbor two doors down the street from me (then and now -still 2 doors apart!) Asking me if I would tell her "Hello" from him when I next saw her which of course I did as soon as we ended our conversation! He mentioned to me that he intended too to make a call to her so I volunteered her phone number to him as well as the promise to mention his greetings to her.

I knew he had been slated to have heart surgery this past fall as his cousin had told me about that and he mentioned having had it done and that because of that, he felt he had been able to definitely add at least several more days onto his life expectancy which he also said, without that surgery, he most likely wouldn't have been here now to make the phone call to me on Friday!

I have to say that talking to him on the phone after so many years truly did my mind and my heart too a whole lot of good! Nothing beats talking to old friends, does it?

Saturday was a big day here too as it just so happened to be my younger daughter's birthday! Yep! Thirty six years ago she came into my life and has been one great presence for me ever since then! I think I can speak for her brother and sister too that they definitely feel the same way about Miss Mandy, my baby girl, as I do in that she tends to be the rock in our midst much of the time!

On Friday, Ken (her friend) had come down to the house bringing with him a nice big chocolate cake iced with dark chocolate icing to begin our celebration then of her birthday. Kurtis was very impressed with the cake Ken had made and iced -mainly because it was made of his favorite substance -chocolate. However, he was a bit upset because the cake had no writing on it and no fancy decorations or anything but after Maya found a couple (five) candles and plunked them down into the top of the cake, Kurt was extremely happy then as the cake was now "decorated!"

Saturday, Mandy was invited to go to Ken's house for a special steak dinner he was going to fix for them and when she returned back home then, I had another cake baked for her too! I made a Red Velvet Cake with white icing and the kids and I trimmed the icing using one of those tubes of "striped" icing -this one being red and white -plus we then sprinkled valentine heart decos over the top and sides of the cake too with one word - "MOMMY" being written on the top of the cake for Mandy!

When my son and his girlfriend came down to share cake with us, they also brought with them a Raspberry cheese cake that Elizabeth had made for the occasion so we were well loaded up then on sugar items, weren't we? And, I must add that all of it tasted pretty darned good too!

Yesterday, at church, Pastor Carrie announced to the congregation what most of us already knew -that March 4th will be her last Sunday here with our parish. Mandy and I have known for the past several months since she had notified the synod that she wanted to transfer to another church and hopefully, by March 4th, we will have ourselves steeled up to her leaving us. She's become such an important part of our lives and especially for both Maya and Kurtis too as they worship the ground she walks on! I understand completely her reasons for requesting a new parish as it is very difficult for a person as young as she is to live in a community so far away from her family and of course, from her old friends as well. After all, from here to her Mom's home in Wisconsin is a 15 hour drive at a minimum! That's something one can't really do in just a weekend, ya know!  Much as Mandy and I both hate to see her leave, we both want what is more feasible for her too and that she found a parish in northern Wisconsin (Baldwin) that is a mere 3 1/2 hour drive from there to her Mom and siblings, is truly a blessing for her as well as for the parish where she will be working!

The nice little WEI game that was bequeathed on our family here last week has really been getting quite a workout lately too! The kids both were kept very busy most all of Sunday afternoon playing their games on it and last night, after Elizabeth took Clayton to pick up his truck and start his weekly run schedule, she came back down here and she and Mandy enjoyed playing Mario games till almost midnight then!

Believe it or not, I went to bed around 11:30 although it sure didn't do me much good to go to bed that early because between not being able to fall asleep and then, for the brief intervals that I did manage some snooze time, my sleep was so filled with really absurd crazy dreams that I sure as heck didn't get a restful night clocked in!

But anyway, here it is now -the beginning of a new week and wondering too what is in store for us.

The weather finally turned to acting like the season -WINTER -this weekend with a bit more snow -the light, blowing drifting across the roadways to make them really slick in many spots kind of snow and the blowing part -typical February cold winter weather! Although today, it appears to be one of those "fooler" kind of days -filled with bright winter sunshine but a wind chill factor that freezes your nose and toes when you venture outside.

Which is what I'm planning to do here too very shortly! Yes, I'm going to brave the wind chill thing and Sir Muttley, Sammy and I will be going for a nice, probably relatively short though, walk!

We both need that constitutional stuff ya know and if nothing else, it'll re-open my sinus again for the day after a brisk stroll, won't it?

Hope life brings you some of the blessings too that it recently deposited on me -reuniting with old friends, celebrating happy occasions with family too and some good foods to top it all off!


Suldog said...

It's pretty amazing how, sometimes, you can catch up with someone after decades of not seeing them and it's just as though they were your friend all along through those years. I got much the same when I got back together with some of my old bandmates, a year or two ago, after almost twenty years. Really cool.

Maggie May said...

That was a busy post.
Belated Birthday wishes to daughter!

Sorry to hear about the pastor's plans for leaving. It is always a bit sad when this happens and wondering who will replace them. But the main loss is all the things you shared with the present one.

It is always daunting, I think when you meet up with friends from the distant past, wondering is there'll be any connection still.
Glad it all worked well.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Mary said...

Jeni, so nice to visit with you and catch up with what's happening in your world.


Marguerite said...

Hi Jeni! It's always great to visit with old friends. So glad that you're having fun and enjoying life! :) Happy Valentine's Day!

CiCi said...

This is a great newsy post. You make talking to childhood friends a wonderful experience. Your excitement at talking with old friends is catchy.