Category Archives: Family and Friends

Pictures and stories of our dear family and friends

Mondays are for Memories – Old Friends and New Friends

We’ve had such a lovely time reconnecting with our friends Jeff and Esther here in South Carolina, that I thought it’d be fun to look back and see other times during our time on the road that our path’s managed to intersect.  One of them was in Chattanooga back in 2007 –

Old Friends and New Friends – May 21, 2007

How does that song go?

Make new friends, but keep the old.
Some are silver and the others are gold.

Every now and again, a weekend falls into place in the most amazing way. God gave us the opportunity to get together with friends we’ve known for almost 40 years, and friends we’ve known for only a year. And to top it off, He gave us beautiful weather and beautiful places to enjoy them with.

Thursday – our day with Jeff & Esther. IMG_7707_editedWe spent most of the day with them, walking along the beautiful waterfront in Chattanooga, enjoying a Clumpies Ice Cream Cone, and catching up on family news. It was a beautiful day in so many ways: Chattanooga is a beautiful city and the weather was about perfect, but being able to spend time with such good friends (whom we’ve known since high school!) was truly the most beautiful part of the day. Here are some shots from the day……

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Friday to Sunday – Nashville with John & Rosie.
Conrads and Stoners 2 Our “new friends” were great hosts, taking us to see many of the local sights and sounds of Nashville. Oh, and Tastes! We ate at some great restaurants (Merridee’s for breakfast and Miller’s Grocery for dinner), walked around Historic Franklin and The Carter House, did a little shopping, worshipped together at Christ Community Church on Sunday, and spent the afternoon at the Opryland Hotel complex. My goodness, that was quite a place! The entire weekend was a delight – we were once again blessed with picture perfect weather, yummy food and wonderful company.
And a couple shots of our Nashville Adventure….
The Carter House (site of a Civil War Battle)
The Carter House
Opryland….
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And yes, that’s a boat ride INSIDE of the hotel…
Opryland Boat ride

And of course, if you’d like there are some additional shots here!

We’ve made it safely to our R&R location, but I’ll fill you in on that later! Time to hit the sack!

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Realtime update – John and Rosie are now ‘old’ friends too! And we’re so very thankful for that! =)

A Pretty Perfect Saturday One

I’ve long appreciated our three-day weekends, and today’s “Saturday One” turned out to be an exceptional one! Gary was doing a bit of work first thing, so I took the opportunity to get the sewing machine humming.
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That, in and of itself, would’ve made it a good day. But the day only improved as it continued on. We’d made some plans to get together with our friends Jeff and Esther and do a bit of South Carolina Exploring. As an added bonus, we were joined by their two daughters and seven grandchildren who live in the area (hubbies couldn’t make it, ’cause for them it was a Friday and not a Saturday One).
We started our exploration at Wildcat Branch Falls where the first set of falls was right by the road. The water was so inviting that I wasn’t sure we were going to get those littles to the actual hiking part and the second waterfall!
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But at last everyone got their shoes back on, and we continued on to the second set of falls.
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We took a nice break at the top of the hike to enjoy the scenery and watch the kiddos exploring the falls.  I’m pretty sure some shoes came off once again!
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But soon it was time to head back down for the second part of the adventure.
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Next stop was Caesars Head State Park – home to an overlook with fabulous views, but more importantly as this point of the day, LUNCH!
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After our tummies were filled and we’d had a little more catch-up time with the grown-ups, we continued on with the exploring. This batch of little girls enticed me to come and see the Devil’s Kitchen. How could I resist those faces?
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Um….are you sure I’ll fit down there?
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We all made it through the cleft of the rock and while the girls (and the rest of the cousins) got busy exploring,
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I was just soaking in the views.
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Once we clambered back up out of the “kitchen” I was able to
enjoy the more official overlook –
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Absolutely glorious!!
We paused before everyone piled into their respective cars for a group picture (with the view included!)
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and then the younguns’ were off to soccer practices and hungry husbands.  Over in the grandparent car…well, there may or may not have been an ice cream stop on the way down the mountain. It’s totally undocumented, so if there’s no picture there’s no proof. Right?
It was such a lovely day, in a lovely state, with some oh-so-lovely friends. We are feeling very blessed indeed!

Thanks for coming along on our South Carolina Exploration! Rumor has it we might be checking out some other waterfalls before the weekend is over!
Steph

PS – The mystery location from Wednesday? Glacier National Park, Montana

Twenty Twenty One

2021 is a pretty big year in our world, with lots of milestones. Here are just a few –
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This little cutie turned 45 in January! (Our first born!)

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This young fella turned 40 last month.  (Our baby!)

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This young lady will be graduating from high school in May. (Oldest of the Grands)

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This young couple will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this summer.

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This wonderful crazy family will be gathering once again at The Cabin this year. Though I do believe the crowd will be a fair bit larger! =)  (Last count, with all the generations accounted for, we’re up to 70!)

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This young man (who is now 10) will be experiencing his Grams and Pops Adventure this summer.

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These kids will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in September,

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and this itty-bitty will be turning 70 in November.

What a year! Of course there are many, many other birthdays and anniversaries that are just as important, so these are just some highlights.  Sounds like it’s going to be a Party Year around here!

Ft Myers Connections

Back in the mid ‘60’s a young college graduate came to stay at our house as she started a new job in the Philadelphia area. My Dad’s mother was her grandfather’s sister (or some such tenuous family connection), so of course my parents welcomed her with open arms.  She came for a week – and stayed for a year! And what a year that was! Even though I lost my bedroom to her, for this young teen having a cute, bubbly, sophisticated, twenty-something in the house was great fun!  I can’t guarantee my ‘remembering’, but I think she stayed with us until she married Ted and then she moved into a nearby community. She and Ted (and then their kiddos) stayed a part of our lives for many years, but as often happens, connections were eventually lost. Mom and Dad moved, we moved, life happened.  We connected again briefly in the late 90’s with the passing of my parents,  but before long we’d once again reverted to the occasional “I wonder what’s up with Josie and Ted?” remembrance.  Not too long ago that little thought resurfaced and I decided to do a bit of Facebook sleuthing. Much to my delight I located her daughter (now living in NYC) and contacted her (‘you might not remember me, but your mom lived with us for a bit last century!”).  She DID remember our family and shared that her mom was now living in Florida, as her dad had passed away several years ago.  This past weekend we were able to meet up with her, and while we couldn’t exchange hugs (ugh, COVID), our smiles were bright (though behind masks when appropriate) as we caught up with each other for the many years we’d lost touch. She had stories (“I remember the first time Gary picked you up for a date!”) and we had stories (“Remember when I borrowed your fancy hairpiece/braid to make myself look older?”). And then, of course, there was all the grandkid bragging. We only met for lunch, but what a grand lunch it was. Josie, we loved reconnecting with you – and pray that we will see you again next time we’re in the area. And hopefully that time there WILL be hugs!
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Back in the mid-70’s a young couple started coming to our church in Willow Grove. He was a medical student, and she a teacher. They lived nearby, were in their early years of marriage and hadn’t started their family yet. Just like us. We were fast friends before we knew it! By the time he’d finished up his medical training, we been through a fair bit of life together – birth of our daughter, an early miscarriage, and now we were both pregnant.  Their decision to set up a practice with a colleague (and friend) in Ft. Myers, FL, made us sad, but as we all know, life goes on! Thankfully, Gary’s mom also lived in Ft. Myers, so we were confident we’d manage staying in touch somehow or other! And we did – well, sorta-kinda! Thankfully, there are some friendships that weather the ‘sorta-kinda’ staying in touch better than others, and anytime we are in Florida we do our very best to invite ourselves over for a weekend!(Yes, we are THOSE friends!) Once we’re together, the years just fall away and it’s back to the wonderful camaraderie that we hold so dear. Jim and Sue – you know we’ll be back!
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UntitledIt’s probably been over 5 years since we’d heard from Gary’s older sister, Judy. We were pretty sure she lived in the Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda area, so last year and this year we made some attempts to contact her. There was never any estrangement, just a lack of communication.  She has had many health struggles over the years, and even her kids had not heard from her in several years. None of the phone numbers we had (or could find) were good.  But since we were in the Ft. Myers area visiting with Jim and Sue, we extended our visit and Gary and Jim spent Monday morning driving to different agencies to try and locate her. Last known address – no one had any info. Chamber of Commerce (looking for senior housing suggestions), no luck. Area police department – can’t help, but maybe the local Sheriff Dept can assist you.  The local sheriff was able to help – and in fact was familiar with her!  She was in a senior group home in the area (he could not disclose the name or location), and was able to contact the supervisor there to see if she would be willing to speak to Gary.  Sadly, she declined.  While he was disappointed that “it wasn’t convenient” for her to speak to him at this time, there is still peace in having located her, believing she is in a safe environment and that she knows that her family has reached out to her.  He left his contact information with both the sheriff and the supervisor, and we are hopeful that she will contact us in the future.

Connections. They are truly a treasured gift.  Our time in Ft. Myers included beaches and seafood and pinochle, but most importantly, it included precious connections.  And for that we will always give thanks!