“A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”
Isn’t that the truth?
We spent Memorial Day in Virginia with friends that Jay developed during 4 years at Washington and Lee University. He’s a northerner in a Southern school. They have become my friends too over 34+ years of knowing him. If you have ever read this blog, you know that my father loved history and every family vacation, he managed to work in a visit to a fort or a historical event. The books we grew up reading were historical biographies and encyclopedias. I always thought, for me at least, it went in one ear and out the other. Really, Dad! Another fort? I thought this was a vacation! The haze is lifting.
The first time I met this group, I was struck by the pride in their heritage, but never more than this weekend many, many years later.
Our hosts Steve and Leila Lou thought it had been way too long since we’d all been together and that the Memorial Day weekend coinciding with Steve’s birthday would be a wonderful excuse to get together. Leila Lou is a true Southern powerhouse. No nonsense, full of energy and fun and a fantastic hostess and cook, she made me feel welcome from the second I met her at that first W&L (soon to be known probably by revisionists as Ampersand University) reunion and again in their home this weekend. Steve, is from the North. Connecticut or was it Maine? North and proud of it, with Southern connections. Every wall of their beautiful home is covered with pictures, paintings and memories of their family and shared heritage and how both have served our country. That’s one thing you get from this entire group. They may be loud and they may be proud, but one thing is for sure, when you take time to listen, you learn. Like, several have family members who have died serving our country. Steve was in the ROTC and comes from a long line of veterans. Their youngest son is serving now. Another friend’s very well respected father fought in the civil rights movement, in Alabama no less, to gain equal rights for his fellow black citizens. I had to learn that from Jay, because he would never boast and you would never know. His wife is lovely and also a true southerner.
There were so many stories shared and laughter and tears exchanged. It was like we never missed a beat and had only seen each other yesterday.
I think I may have to get my niece Skye to work on our family history. Or maybe I just need to look at it and study it, but I’ve always been a live today kind of person, though the past does contribute, you aren’t locked in.
One thing we learned is that we aren’t alone in our health challenges. Several of us are interested in exploring more holistic paths to gliding into the next phases of life, while others have been more aggressive, because they had to be, with more traditional treatments. I came away feeling that maybe some of my things are common to women my age. Maybe.
Dear Sarah has fallen in love with Barn Quilts (she’s a native Southerner and husband Marcus a northerner!) and so she made us each one that she painted on board so that we could hang them outside. I absolutely love mine!! The fact that she took the time to do this just blew me away. And it’s purple! They are two sided and the other side of ours has an “F” in purple in the center of the pattern. She is a lovely artist.
I don’t think we ever did get a whole group shot-there were 11 of us and it was like throwing marbles on the floor to gather us together in one place.
I took my spinning wheel and done fiber to comb and I did both during our visit and here in the car while Jay drove. That’s the beauty of this little travel wheel.
Oops! Can you see it? I took it out. Another reason I have to get to work on that video. This fiber is from our sweet George, who died too young. He was named after a combo of George Washington snd my Dad George. It is amazingly soft and long and a delight to spin. As nice as it was to see old friends, there’s no place like home and getting back to my routine.
In the meantime, remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, get outside for some fresh air and keep the length of an alpaca cria (which is a baby alpaca and about 3 feet long) between you and the next person.
Have a blessed day!