Monday, September 24, 2012

Reunion, Reunion, Reunion

When my 55th (!) high school reunion was in the planning stages a couple of years ago, a few of my classmates and I began exchanging emails. We really wanted to see each other, but didn't care much about all the other folks. So, we decided to stage out own mini-reunion. Much planning and fussing over dates and places ensued until we finally settled on this week at Little River Inn in Mendocino, CA. Today the fun begins!

Well, that's not entirely true, the fun truly began last Friday when I arrived in Sacramento and was picked up at the airport by sister Valery. The good times have rolled non-stop ever since!

Planning to leave gets simpler with each excursion as Ben and Logan grow up. They take responsibility for pet and plant care, their own meals, transportation, and laundry. Grandpa Steve and Julia look in on them, spend the night and provide back up transportation. I'm working myself out of a job!

I had feared travel would be arduous -- I haven't been on a plane in about three years. But in fact, in spite of a two hour delay, and a seat across the aisle from a baby-in-arms on a sold-out plane in Dallas, all went very well.

 A beautiful new terminal, a tram to the boarding gates, and a hotel that had disappeared led me to wonder if I had landed in the right city. Sacramento has really grown up. My wonderful sister circled the parking lot while we talked on the phone and figured out where to connect. From there it was straight to Trader Joe's and then I knew I was back in the land of milk and honey. A stop at Raley's confirmed it. Oh, how I miss California grocery stores!

And I miss my California grandsons (and their mom). I was so happy to see Colleen and my newly-tall sweet and funny grandson Robby. I hated to see a very long day end and I can't wait to see them again next Saturday.

Saturday afternoon was filled with friends from the San Jose days dating back to the pre-school years of my kids.  Nancy, Allen, and Elaine drove up from the bay area to visit while Nancy's son Seth and his boy, Jake came over from their home in Valley Ford. The afternoon zipped by as we reminisced,  talked about the current state of our lives, and discussed the state of the state, nation, and world. How nice to be surrounded by democrats!

Sunday morning, I reunited with Mary Maaga, the former pastor of the church we attended in California. She helped pull us through some tough times and then suffered the tragic loss of her husband to a fast-moving cancer. It was great to hear her preach again (she is the world's best preacher, bar none), to be treated to lunch, to pick up several copies of her book: The Alabaster Orphan, and to spend a couple of glorious hours sharing our stories. I love that woman! And I forgot to get a picture of us together, dang!

Mary delivered me to Lisa Cardwell's house in El Dorado Hills. Lisa and I spent some time catching up and of course, I was amazed at her teen-aged kids, by how grown-up and gracious they have become. Cameron is around 6 feet tall now and Alexandra is taller than her mom. Both are great musicians; Cameron provided some mellow background music and Alexandra performed some of her soul-felt music. I was impressed by the talent of both and touched that they would perform for us.

Valery, Lisa, and I visited Robin's grave in Coloma, where I picked up some old time-worn mementos that had been left at her grave. As is my tradition, I washed off her gravestone with champagne, and drank the last sip from the bottle. Little pink flags had been placed at many of the graves, including Robin's, but I have no idea what they signify. Lichen is beginning to fill in the lettering and make it look softer, I rather like the look.

Lisa is so good at playing the hostess and feeding her guests and last night was no exception. Along with dinner she and I drank the wine I had purchased six years ago to share with her when she visited Missouri with son Cameron. Unfortunately, she never made it to Ozark because a severe winter storm diverted them to Chicago and it never cleared in time for her to come to our house. So, she and Cameron spent the weekend on airplanes and in a Chicago airport hotel. The bottle of wine (Beringer's 2001 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon) waited in my wine cabinet until I finally brought it with me this trip.

I expect high school friends Jack, Linda, and Merle to arrive here at Valery's around noon today and then we three women will take off for Little River Inn to meet up with a fourth friend, Janet. More about all that later.

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