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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

July 22 – August 17th – Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig! (Denver Leg, August 4th – 17th) Part 2

Frank and his son Bill met me at the airport in Denver. It was close
to 11 PM but we stayed up late talking and sharing our respective
experiences over the past few weeks. Bill had offered his guest room
for us probably not realizing how we can take over a place when we are
back home stocking up and making multiple trips to the various shops
and stores that are not found anywhere else. He was good-natured about
our friendly takeover. That was my only night to just sit around at
Bill's place. The next day, we both hit the ground running and often
going in opposite directions. Most days, Frank golfed and I shopped or
met with friends for breakfast or lunch.
I had a 7:30 medical check up on Friday morning, followed by breakfast
with another high school friend, Christy Lundstead (now "Warren"). As
Fate often intervenes in our lives, Christy and I had gotten linked
via Facebook while our 35th High School reunion was being planned.
Her FB profile states her home is now Parker, Colorado. I couldn't
believe that she lived in the same little community that Frank and I
had moved from. We had unknowingly been neighbors for nearly 3 years,
and yet had not seen one another since 1975. We had a lot of catching
up to do and so our breakfast lasted until mid afternoon. We rather
outstayed our welcome at "The Egg and I", so we moved over to the
Parker Library where I am a former volunteer. I ran into most of my
dear friends for and with whom I'd worked. It was a wonderful double
reunion for me. I returned to Bill's in time to get changed for
dinner with Kati and Dave Topolnicki and Scott and Chris Morlan at
Denver's oldest restaurant, The Buckhorn Exchange. The food there is
so good (they are known for their wild game and melt-in-your-mouth-
steaks), and the place is so popular that the only reservation Kati
could get for us was 5 PM. That is a good thing because by 8:00 I was
ready to fall asleep at the table.
Friday, Frank golfed. I met Molli (Halvorson) for coffee and of
course that turned into hours, then I returned to Bill's where he
prepared the most delectable crab cakes with Cajun lobster sauce that
have ever passed my lips! My taste buds danced the dance of bliss.
Bill is a closet gourmet chef. We never turn down an offering from his
galley. When Frank arrived home we hit the roadway to fight the
battle of I-25 N's Friday afternoon traffic. We were meeting Gail and
Mark Lewis and Pennie and Jim Galt for dinner. We had such fun; we
could hardly eat for the laughing and storytelling with these guys.
Saturday, we had a rare opportunity to see Katie Riley's girls, Quinn
and Taylor who happen to be at home just now. They and Quinn's beau,
Todd, prepared a feasty happy hour for us at their brand new
townhouse. My heart did not want to leave them, but we had dinner
plans with our Goddaughter Naia, and her parents Rick and Nina
Rentschler at Bones in the downtown area. Frank and I arrived with a
large gift bag packed with little puzzles, games, trinkets and
baubles, for Naia, whom we'd not seen in nearly 2 years. Rick didn't
make it, so Frank got to have a night with the girls. At just over 3
½ years old, Naia is one of the brightest and most engaging little
girls I think I've ever met. She had us laughing and eating out of her
hand the entire evening. Frank is completely enchanted and lost to
her charms. We enjoyed an all too short visit with them and promised
not to let so much time pass or Naia will be grown when we next see her.
Sunday, Frank was off again with his buddies and I got to spend the
afternoon and have lunch with my dear friend Jenn Williams. She took
me over to her new townhome in Parker and we just talked and talked.
By now my voice was in the gutter. I'd not talked this much to so
many people for so many hours at a stretch that my throat was on fire
and my vocal chords were fried. She dropped me off at Bill's in time
for me to freshen up for dinner at the home of our favorite super-hero
family, Mac and Pamela Buckland and their two kiddos, Shelby and
Blake. I say this with love and awe. If there is a super hero family
living on this Earth, they have morphed into the Bucklands. They get
our vote for mom and dad of the year and they do it all effortlessly
and naturally in spite of their busy careers. Mac follows our blogs
religiously and often queries us about the details that don't make the
blog. We dragged out the globe and had a little geography lesson with
the kids. We had a great night with the four of them.
Monday, more doctor appointments and check-ups and then afterward,
Frank and I went over to Karen's condo for a visit and Frank, being
the thoughtful father that he is, spotted a few little repair and
maintenance projects that are what we call "blue jobs" (men: blue,
women: pink), he wanted to take care of for Karen. She was overjoyed
that he could do that for her. I remembered how my dad would perform
these same little acts of love in my home when I was living the single
life. It really filled me with joy seeing Frank and Karen in that
role. Then Monday evening we finally got to have dinner with Bill and
Karen over at the home of Dick and Lee Miller. I guess their home is
as close as Frank can get to feeling back home. He and Dick are thick
as thieves and their friendship transcends time and space. Dick and
Lee are family. We love them and nearly cried leaving that night.
Tuesday, Lori Romero picked me up for morning coffee and then she and
I joined Jeri Lyn Martin for lunch and afternoon girl time. Later on,
Jeri Lyn took me back to Bill's, where Frank and I packed overnight
bags and shot over to Jeff and Jeri Lyn's house for a couple of days
with them. We figured Bill needed a little space by this time anyway.
Jeri Lyn cooked and while the boys drank some prized scotch, she and I
busied about.
Wednesday, Frank golfed with Jeff while Jeri Lyn and I shopped and
caught up with old friends, and then treated ourselves to an afternoon
of spa pedicures and manicures. We supped out at a forgettable venue
in the new Southglen area, but with these two it doesn't matter where
we are or what we eat; we just enjoy.
Thursday, Jeri Lyn took me for yet another doc. appt. (love all those
annual check-ups!), and then after soaking up another wonderful day
together she dropped me off at Bill's where we said our goodbyes.
That night we met some of our former tailgate friends, The Daleys and
the Semps over at the Morlan's home for a faux tailgate. The Daley
girls came along – always a pleasure to see them and always surprised
that they want to hang out with us old farts. The meal was a
"tailgate" extravaganza that included Scott's grilled-to-perfection
Tri Tip and a load of freshly picked Peaches and Cream corn that Tim
had brought from Brighton. As the evening wound down, Cara Morlan
arrived and regaled us with stories of her latest D.A. cases including
attending an autopsy! As my eyes drooped and my voice began to give
out we called it a wrap and headed for our little home at Bill's.
Friday, Frank and I took Bill over to The Original Pancake House for
breakfast. They have the best homemade breakfasts of anyplace on
Earth. I can't ever decide which of my favorites to have there, and
each time I go I can't wait to return to have another of my favs.
Frank left us to meet another group of buddies so Bill and I returned
to his place and just had some down time.
Our last evening was with Barb Frank and Larry Hill at De Luxe, one of
our favored dining venues in Denver. We started at De Lite the tapas
bar next-door, scarfing down several platters of Dillon's famous
Oyster Shooters, and after a while we moved over to the restaurant.
Barb has become such a regular patron that she was able to secure the
extra top secret, very private back room which she and Larry
affectionately refer to as The Bat Cave. Nice. We got very personal
treatment in there! Again, we found ourselves feeling quite exhausted
as our evening ran into late night and breezed far beyond our witching
hour. Frank and I decided that we would have to get back to Destiny
for a vacation from our vacation.
Saturday, we slept in late and then set about packing our bags for the
final leg of our stateside trip. We spent our last few hours with
Karen and Bill dining at the Cherry Creek Grill. Yummo! Bill
absolutely swears by their Prime Rib French Dip Sandwich. And now I
swear by it as well. I just don't know how they do it but it is, hands-
down, the best I've ever eaten. We lollygagged as much as we could
before the two of them drove us to the airport for our evening flight
to LAX.
Reading back over these journals of going home and the next part of
our trip in Long Beach and San Diego, I realized nearly all we did
back home was EAT! I also appreciate that we are incredibly blessed
to have so many wonderful friends and family in Texas, Colorado,
Virginia, California, and from other parts of the US who love us and
who made special arrangements to spend time with us while we were back
home. Frank often teases me about the amount of detail I put into my
journals and blogs, but then if I don't do that I won't possibly
remember it all in a few years when the memories fade. Then I
sometimes think I didn't put enough detail into my writings, in case
people are reading these and feel that I left them out or slighted
them somewhat in the story telling. Ah – it is a fine line to walk,
but at least I try. That's what matters most – the effort.
It is said, "It takes a friend to be a friend". I hope Frank and I
can live up to that definition.

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