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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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