It was a crisp morning that lingered until after lunch. I got to pick up J first thing. I like my one on one time with him. He talked about his trip to Michigan and visiting with his daughters for Thanksgiving. He said that it was so good to see them and that he misses them. When I said that’s what we do as fathers, get them prepared for the world, he responded, “But I don’t have to like it.”
G was next and we got some time with his dog to start the day. J leaps out of the car to get some of those Bernie kisses!
After we picked up E we caught ourselves singing to the Christmas songs on the radio on our way to meet the gang for morning snack.
We met up with Mary, L, J and A at Great Harvest Bakery for pumpkin muffins and drinks. This really is a group of friends, Mary and I love our time with them.
I got to talk with A some. I shared a bit of what I’m doing with the Masons, and Al being a Fraternity Brother is always so encouraging. I’m glad we have that bond.
L reminisced about his childhood Thanksgivings and he said one of his favorite things after eating and being stuffed is laying around and watching football “with the top of his pants unbuttoned.” I can relate!
After our morning get together, we stopped at Silo Park for a quick walk. We got a good walk in around the park. In the summer the area is teeming with wildlife and color. Today we agreed that it was all too brown, but the fresh air and physical activity felt good.
We then took a drive thru Cherry Creek State Park. We glimpsed a hawk on our way to the Remote Control Model Airplane Runway. And boy did we get lucky there was a few operators flying planes. They buzzed right past us, just great. We were able to talk to one of the pilots while he prepped his model for flight. We got to see a wide variety of styles and sizes, very interesting. This was a nice treat. E wondered if anyone ever got thier hair stuck in the propeller!
We picked up our friend S, who used to be a regular with our Tuesday bunch, and he joined us for lunch. We kind of surprised him and he said he was so grateful that we thought of him. We ended up at our favorite BBQ restaurant, Hickory House. Many got the Tuesday lunch special of ribs, messy, but delicious.
We wound down the day with an Active Minds presentation on the life and achievements of Fran k Sinatra. His story is incredible. We learned that he was quite a humanitarian, which J related to. We got to enjoy some of his music, wonderful. The speaker played songs and then spoke about “Old Blue Eyes”, telling interesting stories, like about his relationship to the Kennedys!.
When the final song came on, both S and G sat up straighter, and they both sang! Gary was even dancing in his seat a little! (The song was “That’s Life”)
Everyone was paying attention, and we were in a very comfortable theatre. S was in a comfy chair and some of the fabric had fallen to the ground, he picked it up and put it on his head (picture attached). J was completely engaged and at one point turned to Mary and said, “wow”, when we were told that Sinatra once performed in front of an audience of 175,000 in Rio de Janeiro. When we were leaving the talk she said, “that was really fun”.
The sky was gray above, but it seemed the sun was shining high on the mountain peaks all day, which we noticed often as we were driving down Parker Road and in the State Park. Eeveryone commented on just how beautiful Colorado is, J pointed out Longs Peak, the sky and view of the mountains were pretty dramatic.
It was a very good day.
This was an exceptional day.
The weather was nice enough for us to take about a 1/2 mile walk before lunch, we attended croquet for just an hour, but what a full hour it was!, we had such a fun time at lunch it’s hard to even explain…it includes us staying until five minutes before the restaurant closed, with their other last remaining customer literally throwing her head back and bursting with laughter as she enjoyed the antics and conversations at our table, and then silliness and singing in our cars, including my car full of men singing along to Kenny Rogers …”You’ve got to know when to fold up”, (The Gambler) and later to “These Boots are Made for Walking!”
And somehow, for some reason, my favorite moment of this amazing day was a very simple one. Jennifer and I were walking with the group after croquet, and we came across a playground filled with children playing in the fall leaves, kicking a ball around, running…you can picture this. One of the balls flew over the fence and I saw R bend down, pick it up, and throw it back to the boys. It was just one of those quick moments that exemplified what our days are like. We come across strangers, we pet the passing dogs, we laugh with other customers in a restaurant, we share stories with our waitress, we see people we haven’t seen in a while, we tease and laugh and sing, and sometimes simply throw a ball back over a fence to a waiting child. I have learned over the years a great deal from the people in our care, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is how to be present in the moment, like them, and to be open to whatever, or whomever, comes our way.
I wrote down lots of funny quotes from today, but I think I ‘ll keep it simple instead, and let you know that some of the subjects we discussed were pecan pie, fraternities, chocolate chip ice cream, back seat drivers, our hearing problems, preschoolers, roller skating, birthdays, mansions, high school football, tattoos, and racing cars in Minnesota and Greeley!
Jennifer and Bruce and I appreciated all the interactions between the guys and look forward to next Monday!
It was a beautiful first day of November and a perfect day to be of service.
After picking the guys up we went to Einstein for bagels and coffee. G and I had a funny conversation about bagels and whether or not they really are that much better in New York City. I told G that my son had recently visited NYC and how much he raved about the bagels there. G assured me that my son was absolutely right, New York has THE best bagels but the one in front of him was “pretty damn good too!” We were sitting at large table and we’re chatting away when someone, who had noticed J’s George Washington HS Swim and Dive team t-shirt. The man who joined us had GW gear on as well and was surprised to see Jerry shirt. He was the phys-ed teacher for GW from the early 70s to the early 2000s, coaching football, basketball, swimming, golf, etc. It was an interesting conversation, talking about the rise and fall of GW’s reputation as a great school for sports, chess, and drama.
From there we went to Wash Park for a good long walk around both lakes before heading to our leaf raking project. T noticed a very large bird standing on one leg on a rail that appeared to fishing. I took a photo, if anyone has any thoughts on what it is we would love to know! If was unfamiliar to all of us! T, the tree climber also made a couple of attempts at a large cottonwood. The ornamental grasses at Wash Park caught both J and T’s eye today too. J said that he some growing voluntarily at his house right now. He isn’t sure how it got there, but he is just going to let it go. Just before leaving the park we ran into James of Jiminy wicket. He spotted us first and hollered as we were loading up in the van. J hadn’t met James yet but T certainly knows him well. The greeting that gave each other was warm, heartfelt, and very touching for me. Is a very good reminder about how important these connections are in this community.
The Leaf Raking Project went great! The guys knew exactly what had to be done and jumped in as soon as we got to the backyard. There was a thick blanket of leaves that needed to be cleaned up and we filled at least six containers, taking turns raking bagging and blowing.
Lunch was at Spanky’s in the DU area, soon as we walked in the waiter recognized our group immediately, greeted us with a big where have you been?!? We were pleasantly startled by the greeting, G said it’s good to have a reputation ! J followed that with “Well, it depends”, T followed that with “Ah, it doesn’t matter!” This was the start of a very good lunch. There was a colorful conversation about politics, which we try to avoid, but clearly these guys are of the same mind so we went with it for a bit. Then after lunch G told us, very poignantly, about his families visit to their Synagogue after last week’s horrific events. He did not dwell in the negativity of it all but told us about the overwhelming support the community experienced. G was directly across from me, T and J were sitting on both side of him. G had all three of us wrapped up in the telling of this experience making eye contact with all of us, maybe a little misty eyed from time to time. It was another wonderful moment in a really great day of touching peoples lives.
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