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Road Tripping

            “There is nothing on earth to be prized more than true friendship.” Thomas Aquinas

Reunion Barbecue

Janice, me, Kim, and Jean in a black and white photo taken by my dear old friend, Charlie, who is into photography and often shoots black and white film so he can develop and print the photos himself. Tthe black and white photo he took one day of me and three of my granddaughters is still one of my favorites. — Photo by Charles Trentelmen

            Day 10: My friend Kim thoughtfully held a barbecue in her backyard for Jean and me this day. It was an opportunity to reconnect with some of my dearest friends — and for Jean, my traveling companion, to meet people who are important to me.

All of Kim’s family came. They had been my family when I had lived in Ogden far away from any family of my own. Her grandmother, affectionately known as GG, and who lived to be 99 before dying a few years ago, had made it official. Holiday gatherings were usually held at GG’s home, and there was always a place for me at her table. I came to love her dearly; she never failed to make me feel special each time I saw her. I couldn’t help but remember her on this day.

Me and GG shortly before she died.. — Photo by Kim Perrin

But then everyone who came to the reunion picnic was special to me. First there was Cory, Kim’s son who was quite young when Kim and I started hanging out together. When Kim was working and getting her college degree both, there were times when he hung out and went hiking and skiing with me. He calls me Nana, just like my grandchildren. That’s perfect because I consider him one. He came to the barbecue with his wife and two children – dang how time flies!

Kim’s mom, Suzanne, was there, too. I owed her a special hug because it was her post to me on Facebook three months ago that resulted in me getting Scamp, the rambunctious, challenging puppy who brings joy – or woe, like the huge chew marks he left o a dining room chair — to my life. Already, I can’t imagine not having him to love – and pester me.

Also, at the gathering was Charlie, with his grizzled beard and smart-ass attitude — which I thrived on for many years.  He came with Carla, his beautiful wife who is also one of my dearest friends. She adds the graciousness to their mixture. Charlie met Carla not long after he and I met – and I hosted their engagement party.

Charlie was my first friend in Ogden, and as my longtime work colleague, he was also the one who helped me stay sane during trying times, of which there were many at the newspaper. It was a favor I returned to him just as often.

Then there was Janice, who calls me second mom. She gave me a gigantic hug the second she saw me. Janice was actually my youngest daughter’s best friend growing up, but she stayed in town after my daughter left, and joined the group of white-water rafting crazies I had collected in Ogden. Janice’s husband Richard, Kim, Cory (when he got older) and his wife Susan belonged to that group, too.

Another day, another barbecue at Kim’s home, this one for officially retiring my first raft, which gave me and friends years of adventures. My dear friend George, who died a few years ago is on the left. Kim’s son Cory is the young man on the right. Kim and I are in the middle, and at the very back is GG, Kim’s grandmother who is also no longer with us. I’m not sure who took the photo

So it was that much of the talk this day resolved around our rafting misadventures. There was also a goodly bit of conversation about all the trouble Janice and my daughter, T.C. (back then known as Trish before she spent 10 years in the Navy) got into when they were teenagers. The life success of both these girls as grown women today is an example of how much we all change. It’s something I try to keep in mind when I am around my kids and others whom I’ve known a long time. I’m certainly not the same person today I was 50 years ago – or even five years ago.

But I don’t know if Janice’s beautiful daughter Christina, who also calls me Nana and came to the barbecue, has

Kim, her son Cory, and me hiking Indian Trail in 2007 on one of my return visits to Ogden.

changed all that much. Always a good kid, at least as I knew her, she wanted to be a journalist, like me when she was growing up. Today, with a husband and children of her own, she works as a photojournalist. She reminded me of the time I took her to work with me for a day.

Sometimes I wonder why I left all these wonderful people back in Ogden? But then maybe if I had stayed, I wouldn’t appreciate them all as much as I do today. Besides, there are phones, emails, Facebook and other means of communication that help keep our friendships alive – and new friends to make, like Jean, who has become dear to me, too.

Meanwhile, the old fart and the old broad at the barbecue, Charlie and I, even write old-fashioned snail-mail letters to each other.

Bean Pat:  Love Traveling https://lovetravellingblog.com/2019/08/15/day-14-walking-the-macritchie-trail-and-visiting-the-national-museum-of-singapore/ The Macritchie Trail at Japan’s Windsor Nature Park. Take an armchair walk and visit a museum with this traveler.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining

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Friends

Kim and me retiring the raft that gave us many years of exciting adventures on the Snake River in Wyoming.

Kim and me retiring the raft that gave us many years of exciting adventures on the Snake River in Wyoming.

“The greatest gift of life is friends.” – Hubert Humphrey

 

Lucky and Blessed Am I

Kim a long-time friend, who now lives a thousand miles away, called yesterday and we talked for hours. And when I hung up, I realized how blessed and lucky I was to have her in my life.

We’ve been friends for over 30 years now. She’s more family to me than some members of my own family.

Kim and me on my 70th birthday, right before we went sky diving together.

Kim and me on my 70th birthday, right before we went sky diving together.

As a person who has lacked roots most of her life, I’ve had friendships that seem to have simply disappeared after a year or so when I moved away. Others, like Kim in Utah and Kris in Idaho, are friendships that have survived the distance. Whenever I talk with, or see, them, it’s as if our conversations just ended the night before and we pick up right where we left off.

I thought about this when I walked my canine companion Pepper at o-dark-hundred this morning beneath a sliver of moon that reminded me of the Cheshire Cat’s grin. Both Kim and Kris are as unlike me as a live oak tree is from a palm tree. But I’ve found over the years that such friends are the best kinds, because each fills in the holes of the other person.

Thinking about how each of these two friendships began, as I am now, is making me giggle. I met Kris after a breakup with my second husband, and at that point in my life was still searching for a male soul mate, as was she. She found hers, and I realized I was sabotaging relationships because I enjoyed being single much more than I had ever enjoyed being married.

Kim came later, after I had given up on ever finding a soul mate and was focusing on outdoor activities, like rafting, skiing, sailing and hiking. Kim, who worked at the same newspaper as I did, was more dedicated to being a single mom than finding a man – and so it was that we found ourselves the only single women at work who weren’t chasing after some man.

And once we started hiking and taking road trips together, the friendship was cemented. Or maybe it was the night we had too much to drink and pledged we would get tattoos, then both reneged the next morning when we came to our senses.

Whenever I count my blessings, I always include Kris and Kim. As I said, I’m a very lucky and blessed woman. I hope you are, too. 

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

        

Bean Pat: The Paths of the Spirit http://tinyurl.com/zofb836 Sleepers are quiet. Lovely post that left me with lots to think about.

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The trail led beside and beneath the waterfalls. I do so love Zion. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The trail led beside and beneath the waterfalls. I do so love Zion. — Photo by Pat Bean

         “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! – Dr. Seuss

Runoff from the Emerald Pools' waterfalls created this small puddle of water, which reflected the nearby landscape. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Runoff from the Emerald Pools’ waterfalls created this small puddle of water, which reflected the nearby landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

On a Birthday Hike   

It felt fantastic to be back in Zion National Park to celebrate my recent birthday with some of the same friends who have celebrated it with me in this awesome place for three decades.

A good-sized lizard near the start of he hike. I barely captured him with my camera before he slithered away.

A good-sized lizard near the start of he hike. I barely captured him with my camera before he slithered away.

While my body wasn’t up to the grueling 5.5-mile roundtrip hike to the top of Angel’s Landing, which I have done about 30 times in my life, it was up to a moderate three-mile hike on the Kayenta and Emerald Pools’ trails. The two trails join at the waterfalls junction.

I originally started the tradition of spending my birthday in Zion because I didn’t live near any family members, and I figured it was much better to do something I enjoyed than stay home and feel lonely.

 

My friend Kim near the start of the hike. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My friend Kim near the start of the hike. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had hiked it alone or with varying friends for several years before Kim and her son began joining me almost every year. This year she called me about three days before my birthday and told me to get my butt to Zion. The message wasn’t exactly expressed in those exact words but I got the meaning.

I drove up to Zion, a nine-hour journey, in Cayenne on Friday, hiked and partied on Saturday, and drove back on Sunday. It turned out to be one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: A Writer’s Path http://tinyurl.com/ps647fp  This blogger chose his favorite 10 opening lines of books. I agreed with a couple, but the blog made me want to go and list my favorite opening lines. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

 

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A friendly game of tug of war between Dusty, left, and Pepper. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A friendly game of tug of war between Dusty, left, and Pepper. — Photo by Pat Bean

   “A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” – Elbert Hubbard

Best Friends

They like to wrestle, too.-- photo by Pat Bean

They like to wrestle, too.– photo by Pat Bean

Most late afternoons my friend Jean and I meet for a bit of chit-chat with our dogs.

I treasure such time with a friend. And so do Pepper and Dusty, who are friends, too.

Everyone needs friends.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Top 10 http://tinyurl.com/pb6ruhe Flowers that look like animals. This is amazing.

 

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“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah Winfrey

My friend Kim sent me this recently on my Facebook timeline. Oh how I wish I could. -- Unknown source

My friend Kim sent me this recently on my Facebook timeline. Oh how I wish I could. — Unknown source

My Female Soul Mates

While I have no biological sisters, I am blessed to have women friends who fill the lack.

First there is Kim, the one who personally knows all the skeletons in my closet, and with whom I’ve shared many an outdoor adventure. We met as work colleagues who had nothing in common. It took a few after work drinks and a crazy, wild rafting trip for us to bond, but then it was us against the world.

Some of my writing sisters during the recent Story Circle Network. -- Smart Phone photo taken by another sister.

Some of my writing sisters during the recent Story Circle Network. — Smart Phone photo taken by another sister.

While I never seemed to choose a male who completed me, Kim was the perfect fit for all my flaws. We’re as different as lemons and chocolate, and each of our strengths cover the other’s flaws.

It was she who sent me the above poster, and if I lived closer now than 800 miles from her, you better believe I would have taken her up on the request. Instead I’m just remembering such escapes as getting lost in Nine Mile Canyon, coming eyeball to eyeball with an elephant, conquering Lunch Counter Rapid in high water, and making it to the top of Angel’s Landing during a snowstorm.

Then there is my friend, Kris, whom I met and played with during the two years I lived in Twin Falls. She and I sometimes go five years between visits, but easily pick up right where we left off when we do get together.

And in recent years, I have found online sisters who share my writing passion through Story Circle Network. I recently got to get together with them in Austin.

Could I be any more blessed?

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Indian Wells Canyon http://tinyurl.com/qby2ped Texas has her bluebonnets, but awesome wildflowers at this time of year are not confined to the Lone Star state. Thanks to this blogger I get to see some of them.

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            “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”—Tim Cahill

One of two ponds at the entrance to Carthage Gap RV Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day 26

            What I didn’t tell you about my drive yesterday were my concerns about where I would spend the night.

Brandy, sort of my granddaughter for a weekend, in the costume her mom made for her. The outfit included a hook and specially braided hair. — Photo by Kim

I hadn’t seen an RV park all day, and my campground directory listed only one near the end of my day’s drive.  It was the Carthage Gap RV Park outside of Coolville, Ohio.

I was worriedly hoping it would be a nice, safe, clean place because I didn’t fancy driving another 100 miles. I’m happy to tell you my hopes were met — and then some.

The park was located in a beautiful setting, and the staff was enthusiastically friendly when I checked in for two nights. The manager explained that I had come just in time to experience the park’s early Halloween celebration. She offered me the option of being in the middle of the large park, or of hooking up in an isolated section.

I guess I was sort of people hungry at this point in the trip because I chose the small site in the middle of it all.

After the park manager led me to it, and guided me as I backed into the squeezed space, she introduced me to my next door neighbor, Kim.

“She’s one of our seasonals,” the manager said, then hurried off to help other RVers get settled for the busy weekend.

Kim became my guardian angel for the next two days, taking me under her warm wing and adopting me into her brood, which included parents, a sister, a niece, a husband and a daughter. They lived not too far away and their travel trailer was almost permanently parked at the scenic campground, I learned.

The brood had all gathered this weekend for the spook celebration, which is an annual event at the park.

I was the family’s guest at the Halloween potluck dinner that preceded the trick or treating the next night. And I got to sit around their campfire as candy was handed out to the many young treat-or-treaters. The most unusual costume of the night, I thought, was the young boy dressed as a railroad crossing. As a mom, I was never that inventive. My kids were usually witches, hobos or ghosts, things that didn’t require any sewing on their mom’s part.

The second pond at the park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Kim’s daughter, Brandy, was one of the trick or treaters.            “Just wait until you see my niece’s costume,” Tracy had said at dinner. “My sister’s an excellent seamstress and can sew up anything.”

I waited. Tracy was right. Brandy was the most lavishly dressed pirate I think I’ve ever seen.

Since Kim had officially adopted me into the family for the weekend, Brandy felt like a granddaughter, of which I have eight.

I left Carthage Gap with great memories tucked away in the brain’s rolodex. And a bit homesick for my own family, too.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is still stuck. Too much traveling – I’m currently on the Blue Ridge Parkway in my journey and driving 100 miles takes five hours. I need to settle for a day soon and catch up.

Bean’s Pat: Couch surfing in India http://mymeanderingtrail.com/ This travel blogger, who writes about hiking the Appalachian Trail, is a good model for Tim Cahill’s quote about the journey being more about the people you meet than the miles. And about the kind of concerns all travelers who get off the beaten path endure — and overcome.

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“I talk to him when I’m lonsome like; and I’m sure he understands. When he looks at me most attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he  rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothers, but never a friend like that.” — W. Dayton Wedgefarth.

Friends

My grandson, David, and two of his best friends. Scout and Levi. I didn’t take this picture, but it’s one of my favorites. I think my son, D.C. took it.

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