Monday, November 16, 2009

Been Busy, Been Gone

I’ve been away, and have lots of catching up to do with my blogging buddies. I hope you are all well. I will try to catch up with your writing soon!

On Veteran’s Day, we went to Seattle to see one of our favorite doctors from Children’s Hospital. You may recall that I’ve written about Dr. Tom, who was such a light and a tremendous support to us all through our time in the hospital, but particularly in our  first days with Katie in the ICU. David spent many happy hours with Dr. Tom and his family, skiing, last year.

Wednesday, David and I went on a hike with Dr. Tom, his lovely wife and their delightful twin boys. We had a picnic lunch beside the waters of Puget Sound, hiked through gorgeous woods and then returned to their house. David drove to retrieve Gregg after work, and brought him to the house, where we shared a delicious dinner with Dr. Tom’s family. We cherish this friendship.

The next day, we embarked on a trip to the eastern side of our state. The purpose of the trip was to visit two colleges, so that David could learn more about them, and to visit family members who live nearby.

Do you know much about Washington State? It has a lot of diversity within its boundaries, and the major dividing line is the Cascade Mountain range. I admire the eastern side of the state for its beauty and its gifts, but I don’t spend much time there. Being a water-lover, my home is in the west, beside the saltwater and the evergreens.

We headed east, driving over Snoqualmie Pass, and through the Yakima Valley, where I saw this billboard: Yakima_Welcome_Sign
This statement is such a blatant distortion of the truth that we found it hilarious, and laughed out loud about it. Let me just say that, as someone who visits the Palm Springs area every year, there is NO connection between the two that I can find...other than the fact that both have a hot and dry climate.

Our first stop was in Walla Walla, a small, quaint town where some of my ancestors settled long ago, and built a mercantile business. We spent a night and an interesting day, hearing presentations at the school, and then drove north to Spokane, through flurries of snow, admiring beautiful rolling hills and the bright colors of the farmland.

People talk a lot about the "Washington Wine Country," and while I enjoy our wines, we have a long way to go in making the "wine tour" into all that it could be in the Pacific Northwest. There is a vast difference, for example, between driving from Yakima to Walla Walla, and driving through the northeastern wine country in France, from Strasbourg to Thann. How to put it? I think the French might be a bit shocked at the "rustic" quality of our wine country, at this point. But it has great potential!

In Spokane, David heard more college presentations and visited with friends who are attending school there; we took one of them out for lunch. Then we went to dinner at the home of our cousin, Kim, and his wife, Mary.

Spokane GG & KKKim is as close to Gregg as a brother; they are only a month apart in age, they grew up together, played on the same high school basketball team, and their mothers are sisters (and best friends). His mother is our Auntie Bernice.

It was on Kim’s father’s fishing boat that Gregg worked, and earned the money to put himself through college; it was with Kim that Gregg traveled in Europe after graduation. Kim is the one who told us, when we were wavering, that it was vitally important for us to hold a memorial service for Katie – and it was Kim who offered to deliver her eulogy. He did a beautiful job, and we will be forever grateful to him for his tenderness and strength in supporting us in that horrible time.

Kim is about 6’4” tall. He has very broad shoulders and a bit of a fiery temperament. He's mellower now; he says that Gregg was a calming influence on him throughout their growing years, and that Gregg kept him out of a fight, more than once.

Spokane M & KKIt was a joy to visit Kim and Mary in their beautiful home, to break bread together, watch the Gonzaga Bulldogs play basketball, and talk about everything under the sun.

Since this was a college-visiting trip, Kim and Mary put the “full court press” on David to choose a college in their town. It was sweet and funny to hear the “campaign,” and will be interesting to see what David decides. He has one more college to visit. Gregg and I are standing back, supporting him, but allowing him to decide for himself. It’s such a privilege and a joy to be with him this year as he visits these fine schools.

I am more aware than ever what a gift a college education is. I am deeply thankful to my parents for providing for mine!


Elizabeth said...

How exciting to visit these colleges and to see your beautiful boy growing toward manhood. I love your descriptions of Washington and also feel a yearning to visit there when I read them. I love the Palm Springs thing -- so funny!

Busy Bee Suz said...

You have been missed and I am glad that you were doing this with your family, instead of being sick like so many folks right now.
I got teary eyed reading about Kim..what a great history he and Gregg have and what an impact he made on your family.
I hope David finds his college choice to be an easy one...this is a very exciting time in his life!!!
Hugs, Suz

Karen said...

Thanks for the great catch-up. David is blessed to have such interested, supportive parents who will go to the trouble of providing opportunities for him and supporting him every step of the way. You and Gregg are blessed to have Kim, a friend in word and deed--closer than a brother. What a gift he is. You are all surrounded by so much love and care. Blessed, indeed.

ChiTown Girl said...

Sounds like a glorious weekend!

Dawn ~ BJSMomma said...

Such fun times....AND thank you for taking us on that trip. You brought back some wonderful memories when we were in that area during spring 2007. Sure does make me want to come back!

~ I just LOVE the sunset photo!

Renee said...

Karen college, oh my God. A boy in college pretty soon. That is exciting.

I love the idea of a walk when Wahid gets home, that is a wonderful idea.

Love Renee xoxo

Karla said...

What a wonderful trip. I had always planned on taking a similar trip with Mandi, but since cancer came into our lives she really wants to go to a college close to home...we'll see. :)

Jason, as himself said...

Yakima! One of my best friends is from Yakima. Ironically, her parents spend half of the year in Palm Springs, CA.