Bittersweet parting and sweet new retirement chapter

Last Sunday was Jeff’s last time preaching as an installed of pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Battle Creek. For safety reasons, we met at a pavilion at Binder Park Zoo.

It was so wonderful to see so many people. This pandemic has been hard on so many people. 2020 was supposed to be a year of us getting together with friends we’ve made over the past 16 years living in Michigan, and having long, bittersweet goodbyes. The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. WithPeople staying away from a group of people in a worship service because of the pandemic – even outdoors – and everyone else who came, wearing masks, Jeff wanted the photo directory to recall faces. A new one was planned this past spring to replace the 2013 directory. COVID-19 change that plan as well.

For me, it was like looking at faces pass on an Amtrak train. Goodbye. Goodbye. Wave. We’ll miss you so! Farewell. God bless.

Even some former neighbors (pre-Turkeyville) came to bid us farewell.

A tearful 16-year video created by Cathy L. What memories you all have given us. We also have a huge decorated album filled with cards and notes, along with a dozen or so given that day.

After service was a box lunch, but it was chilly enough that only a handful stayed to eat at the pavillion.

We are reading the cards a few at a time because it’s quite emotional for us. Sometimes I have to hand some to Jeff to read aloud because I’m too choked up. Thank you all so much for a wonderful send off and amazing friendships made over the past 16 years. We love you.

(Posted from our son’s house, where there is Internet.)

Summer Reflections — 4th of July 2015 Weekend, Canada Day, Family Reunion

(In a continued break from my regular writing posts, here is another Summer Reflections post — with things tucked away for some future novel scene or ten.)

2011 hot air balloon by our flag

We lived ten years in Buffalo, NY, a mere fifteen minutes across the Niagara River and into Ontario, Canada. Canada Day is July 1st. American Independence Day is July 4th. Each year the Friendship Festival lasted about a week with numerous activities on both sides of the border and huge fireworks at various locations every night. You really had to pick and choose your activities. The food, the people, the events, all were amazing. I miss my Canadian face-to-face contacts, but always belt out, “Oh, Canada!” on each July first.

Twenty years out from that time, here in Battle Creek, Michigan, each 4th weekend is a Field of Flight. There are hot-air balloons going up each morning and evening (weather permitting), and air shows from 1:30-5 pm for three days. We live two miles from the private airport where the events are held, and often have balloons (with a “fffffft”) or planes flying (with a “zzroommm”) low overhead. Until recently, the U.S. Thunderbirds and/or Canadian Snowbirds (“Oh, Canada!”) would absolutely thrill with their maneuvers and noise. This year we had an amazing, turn-on-a-dime, Raptor-22 fly close overhead. There is much more to see and do during this time, including the orange street signs all over indicating “Balloon Traffic” or “Balloon Parking.”

2011 July 4 Goguac Touchdown Thunderbirds 08 02 DSC01639

Twenty years out from that time to this year, our little family of eight (two sons, a daughter-in-law, three grandkids, husband and me) had a 4th of July family reunion for three days and three nights. We went boating, swimming, made sand castles on a beach, watched balloons and planes and fireflies from our front yard, set off sparkly fireworks in our backyard each night, BBQed, ate and laughed, and laughed and ate. The only thing we didn’t get to was make smores, which causes me to wonder what I’m going to do with all those marshmallows and chocolate! Hmm. When the little ones left for their home, the remaining adults spent a day visiting some of Michigan’s fabulous, friendly, and very tasty wineries, and playing Dungeons and Dragons into the night. All that’s left is loads of laundry, putting away toys, taking out and storing table leaves, returning loaned baby equipment to neighbors, and a longing heart for more family time together.

 

IMG_3529 AA Beach   Balloon Parking 01