5 1/2 Months- Week Two

 

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Week Two: Celebrating Tim’s 60th Birthday at Guido’s with Tim & Deb, Judi, Tom & Kathy and Sandy. We spent the night at Tim and Deb’s home in Illinois. Talk about a great B&B! We had a beautiful bedroom, brand new bath and shower. Tim prepared an awesome breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash-browns, blueberries, strawberries, English muffins,orange juice and coffee. We topped it off with Deb’s home made banana cream birthday cake. If you add the view over their pool and Lake Lorraine plus the good laughs with Tim and Deb all for the awesome price of $0.00 you end up with quite the bargain.

Sandy, Tim and I went to the Veterans Home to visit my 93 year-old father. He was in rare form. He can’t hear well and usually refuses to wear his hearing-aids. His eye-sight is poor and getting worse. He gets around FOR NOW in a motorized wheelchair. When he is headed to the cafeteria you better get out of his way. He has a reputation, and it’s not good. We had a good visit. All his body parts are failing but he still has his sarcastic sense of humor. He is ready for God to take him. God is thinking it over. We all wonder if Mom is holding up a NOT ALLOWED YET sign at the entrance to heaven.

We returned to Springfield via Jacksonville where we found the downtown square, a Ferris Wheel at the edge of a nice park and the Elma Mae Leonhard Wildlife Sanctuary. That pretty much covers every square inch of Jacksonville, Illinois with nothing more to report.

Monday night Nicole prepared a fantastic homemade Italian meatball pasta dinner with chocolate covered strawberries for desert. The rest of the week in Springfield is pretty much the same each day. After our morning coffee we head to Panther Creek CC for a one-hour workout and steam room sauna. Then, its lunch, read a book, write, and watch the Olympics after dinner. This is some life-style for two homeless gypsy’s in their seventies.

Today is the day—-we have been married for 50 years. We enjoyed celebrating with Sandy’s brother’s and sisters and the spouses. Thanks to Sally and Tom, Mimi and Tom, Jack and CeCe, Mary, Nancy and Judi for sharing the night with us at Schneithorst’s. As always, when we get together conversations and laughter exceed the sound barrier most other patrons scatter for a quieter place in the restaurant.

Saturday night the celebration continued with dinner at Favassa’s. Thanks to our friends Gerry and Sue, Jim and Eileen, Tom and Elsie, Mike and Karen for sharing the love. We will miss all of you as our travels get under way. Tuesday morning we will be traveling to Blue Hill, Maine. I;m looking forward to lots of good stories to share then.

 

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Today We Begin a 5 ½ Month Journey, February 8, 2018

As most of the world knows by now, February 23, Sandy and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  I say “most of the world” because this morning Sandy told the grocery clerk in Springfield, Illinois all about our five and half month trip plans. This women, plus over 200 people at the Dorchester, all of our friends and relatives are aware of our anniversary date and plans through July. If each person will tell just one other, well, you know, word travels fast.

We have been considering a variety of travel options for most of the past year. At first, we were planning a trip to Italy and then a Viking Cruise through Germany ending in Amsterdam. Sounds awesome. Maybe next year.

Sandy came up with the idea of subleasing our apartment for a few months so that we could travel the US and then end up in the NW. We could then spend more time with our children and grandchildren who live north of Seattle.  She was tired of being a “Skype Grandma” and wanted to live near the kids for a few months to experience what it’s like to be a real grandma, not one who visits for a few weeks each year and one you can only see via Skype. Of course, that plan would allow me to be a real grandpa too. I’m all in.

Things have worked out well. We have sub-leased for four months through mid-July. We have planned a big SASH BASH 50th Anniversary party for July in Breckenridge, CO. All six kids, wives, husbands, significant others and all ten grandchildren will be there. So, from this day through the return to ST. Louis mid-July, I plan to write a daily blog highlighting some of the adventure.

We will be gone five and half months, 165 days, I believe. And, today is…

Wk1/Day 1: We arrived at Randy and Chris’ summer home in Springfield, Illinois, unloaded our things for a two week stay and relaxed before bed via a Netflix original. The next morning we enjoyed coffee with a spectacular view of Lake Springfield, ten deer passed through the open yard beyond the swimming pool, and at least 100 ducks and geese swam by in the lake. What a wonderful way to begin this journey.

Late morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Charlie Parker’s (must go to place), dinner with Craig at Boone’s Saloon, and on to watch Evan and SHG win a high school basketball game 62-56.

Wk1/continued: Thanks to the generosity of Randy and Chris this beautiful home on Lake Springfield will be home for the next two weeks. Saturday night I broiled steaks and vegetarian k-bobs on the outdoor bar-b-q pit even though it was 20 degrees with an ice storm just beginning. Craig, Nicole, Evan, Ella, Todd and Scarlet enjoyed a meal  and some laughs around the kitchen table set up to serve sixteen (that’s one long table). Todd and Scarlet braved the hot tub as the ice snow pelted down.

Sunday morning Todd and Scarlet left for St. Louis. The rest of the week was a bummer. Sandy had the flu from Sunday-Thursday. We laid low. Watched a lot of television. Good thing we had Winter Olympics and Netflix Originals to watch.

By Friday we had cabin fever. So, we acted like a Springfield, Illinois tourist. We started with a freezing walk along the lake at Lincoln Memorial Gardens—had the whole place to ourselves. No other visitors on a cold day like this. We got in two miles then headed to the Lincoln Museum. If you haven’t been there we recommend it. This is the best Civil War time period exhibit we have ever seen. After a light lunch at Wm. Van’s coffee shop we walked around the Lincoln family home neighborhood. And then, we wrapped up the day at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary. How’s that for acting like tourist.

Tomorrow we are headed back to St. Louis to meet family for dinner on the Hill as we celebrate my brother Tim’s 60th birthday. That will end week one.