Monday, October 17, 2011

Joyful Weekend

I am joyful. We had a weekend filled with reasons for gratitude and celebration.

Reason # 1 is that David arrived Friday night to spend a 3-day weekend with us. We haven't seen him since late August, so it felt wonderful to hug him, listen & talk to him, cook for him, and - yes - even to wash his clothes. He had just finished taking his mid-term exams.

We enjoyed knowing that he was sleeping in his double bed, and had his own bath all to himself. It was good to give him a little spoiling after his efforts at university. He is on the road now, on his way back to school, driving two other students with him.

Drs. B. and their twin 12-year old sons ("the Dudes") arrived on Saturday to go to Port Townsend with us. We usually make this trip with them during the summer, but the combination of David's work schedule and theirs conspired to prevent it, so it was moved to autumn.

We were very happy to see them pull into our driveway in their van. They had with them an exchange student, their guest for this year (a son of their friends) from the Central African Republic. "Gogo" was shy in the beginning, but by the end of the day he was smiling, laughing and having a good time. We packed a picnic lunch, and set out in two cars: David drove Gogo & the Dudes, and Tom & Marisa (the Drs. B.) drove Gregg and me. It was a beautiful day for a trip across Hood Canal and up to Jefferson County - clear blue sky and changing leaf colors. Lots of chatting happened in both cars.

After our picnic in the park, we began our walk up to the bunkers with the B's dog, Spooky. Marisa and Gregg and I sat in a sunny spot, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while Tom, Gogo, David and the Dudes played a raucous game of tag in the bunkers. This has become their tradition over the past four years, and it's such fun to listen and watch them play. Huge bald eagles soared past our spot, the sun shone on the waters of the Strait, and the view across to Whidbey Island and Canada was breathtaking.
We walked through the park to two other sets of bunkers, so that the game of tag could continue and stay fresh and exciting. The vistas from the various places are simply staggering, especially on a clear, crisp, breezy autumn day. It is a blessing that the Park Service maintains these treasures (Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Fort Casey) for the public's enjoyment.
When everyone had enough of "tag," we walked along the sandy beach and encountered two wedding parties, on our way back to the cars. We drove to town so the hungry ones could refuel at Elevated Ice Cream Company with a cone or a frozen, chocolate-dipped banana. Then I called Kim at Burrata Bistro & Paella Bar to see if she could accomodate our party of eight. She could, so we headed back to Poulsbo.

Last weekend, Gregg and I bumped into Dr. J. and his wife while out for a walk. It was great to have a chance to catch up with them. Dr. J. was a resident (doctor in training) with the Drs. B., "back in the day." Knowing this, I spontaneously invited Dr. J. and his family to join us when the Bs were visiting.

In the car on the way to the restaurant, I had a message from Dr. J: yes, they could join us - so a quick call to Burrata added four more to our dinner party. Kim, Alfonso and their staff welcomed our lively dozen, and treated us royally.

Dinner lasted over three hours - a feast that included appetizers, wine, entrees and desserts. Stories were told of the doctors' days in residency; new information was exchanged, and the kids got acquainted with each other. It was great fun.

While lying in bed before falling asleep that night, tears flowed into my pillow. I was overwhelmed with the joy of the day, the fellowship, good humor, exhilaration of pleasure in fresh air and open spaces, the beauty of nature, the reunion of old friends and the gift of new ones, wonderful food and drink, laughter and the ability to be part of it.

It all happened because of Katie - we would never know these good people if she hadn't fallen ill. It's a terrible irony, because she would have loved the entire day - and of course, I wish she had been with us - but we were all together because of her. So perhaps my tears were the mingling of that intense gratitude, joy and longing for her. I don't know.

Yesterday, David and Gregg played tennis, and then visited Gregg's parents at the retirement home. Last night, we hosted my parents for dinner so that they could visit with David before they fly south for the winter. Gregg barbecued David's favorite (filet mignon from Costco), and Alaskan salmon which Mom & Dad contributed. It was a fun feast...and a good way to end a joyful weekend.


Ellen said...

Karen...when I read your blog I do feel so peaceful and centered. Life does lead us through smooth and rough territories where we must challenge our deepest felt emotions. We laugh and cry, rejoice and as in your case you think of your beautiful daughter Katie, who with her illness and loss has led you and your family to meet and experience new friendships.

I don't know what or how I would feel with what you have been through. I do know that your life experience has opened my eyes to how the healing process can go. How we look at our lives when faced with sorrow.

Many fall weekends such as what you just had, to come!

Elizabeth said...


What blessings -- and thank you for sharing them with us. You are positively infectious with your joy!

Leslie said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend with your dudes :) Glad you could have a joyous dinner with people near and dear to your heart (why does this feel like such an understatement?) I love it when a last minute plan falls together ... almost like it was meant to be.

Wishing David safe travels back to Gonzaga! <3 you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Karen, I've been following your blog for years. I believe I was first acquainted with your moving journey via one of the many comments you've left on Karen Bosnak's blog. I "knew" her when she was just Save Karen and was requesting donations. I actually sent her $5!! Isn't it amazing how far she's come?

I have agonized over many of your posts and have sent you many virtual hugs and prayers. Your voice resonates with every published word and I thank you for sharing.


Busy Bee Suz said...

This is another testament to your big and beautiful soul. Reading posts like this makes me feel so good about life!!!
I am actually envious about your many good people and enjoying nature; perfect!!!!

Karen said...

I understand those tears on the pillow...such a rich life, such a high price paid for it, such wonders yet to come in the world to come. It is all mysterious, overwhelming and sweet. Love you friend.

Diane Walker said...

What a delightful time -- and a perfect way to celebrate your book-launch-to-come!

It's wonderful to hear all that joy in your words...

Jim said...

As I was reading I could see that it was the perfect get-together.

AnnDeO said...

You can feel the warmth and strength of family and friends from your post. Joyful weekend indeed.

Kay said...

I love this post. It is so full of life and happiness..and you deserve such an amazing time! Hugs and love! : )

deb colarossi said...

You are truly a testament to living.
It's humbling and inspiring

hugs, love , and wishes for many more wonderful weekends and days .