June 18, 2018

a friendship that lasts...

It could have been any Saturday of the 80s: Maria's subs, a walk along the jetty at the lighthouse, searching for seaglass, ice cream at Wilbur's, and the laughter that always happens between friends. But... it was just last weekend. More than thirty years later, we manage to tuck a quick conversation into the few calm moments in the frenzy of life... advice, something funny, sharing a memory. And if a visit is possible, we love to make it happen.
I've known Kim since 7th grade... and even though we weren't friends at first {she took my fear of middle school and life as snobbishness!}, by 8th grade I was giggling at her sleep-over party. We spent summers scooping ice cream, we wore the same color dress to the Junior Prom, and being December girls, we lamented about being the last to get our driver's license.
a couple of over exposed photos from 1988

Her hospitality and her family in the mix of ours only made the weekend better. {And it was a bonus that we had our own photographer for a family group shot or two, and tons of touring tips... right down to finding gluten-free cannoli!} I'm ever thankful for friends who hang around forever... the ones who choose to really know you. My life would be less without her.
april 2016, lot #3
We love the beach.
We love our people fiercely.
We never say no to ice cream... and we eat our ice cream fast.
And every time one of us drops an egg on the kitchen floor, we think of each other.

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June 12, 2018

before the storm...

Her 65th birthday celebration trip had been planned for months. Grown ups at Disney World!
When the talk of a hurricane started, we watched the forecast closely and tried to decide:
Do we go... or not? 

The New England in us thought... if we cancel and the storm never comes, we'd be mad. The Florida in us thought... Disney may be the safest place to be if it does come. The government agencies and the news urged everyone to get out if you could.  But Eric's boss told him he could still go, which made us lean into our New England roots. Our only disappointment was that my sister felt like she couldn't leave her kids here in town, just in case... which we totally understood. Three days before the hurricane, we filled the cars with gas, stocked up on supplies, documented our belongings, prepared the house... and headed four hours north to Disney.

Was it the right decision? Once we were on the road, it didn't matter. It was the decision we made. In the end, we were glad we went and everything turned out just fine. We enjoyed all of Disney we planned for (plus one more night)... and saw how Disney handles a hurricane - which was incredible.  

And the birthday celebration? Stay tuned...
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June 11, 2018

the buntings came back!

I was thrilled to spot three painted buntings at the bird feeder at the feeder this year! It is truly a joy to see them, and when they are perched having their afternoon snack, I can hardly turn away. I wasn't holding out hope for their return this winter, because half of their favorite tree came down in the hurricane.
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The hurricane... in many ways, we are still recovering from it, even nine months later. Thankfully, our home held strong and the two large trees in the yard are still standing. One of them split and fell away from the house, and while I fully prepared my heart for the other one to have crashed though the front of the house, I believe the criss-cross of roots held it back. Later this month our roof will be replaced - a few shingles flew in the wind (140 mph), and enough was damaged to warrant a new one - but no leaks!

We were at Disney during the storm, watched it play out on TV, and started home as soon as it was safe. Our community was without phone service, and we couldn't get in touch with Eric's parents (they live a mile away), so we had no idea what to expect. Pulling off the highway was a shock to the system. It was almost unrecognizable... trees down, just chewed up by the wind. I had already prepared Eric for the tears that would come when we got home - either way. But the tears that fell were of thankfulness. 

As soon as we knew our family was safe, Eric went to work. Overnights, in hurricane shelters and patrolling gas stations. It was five days without power, so we put our camping equipment and skills to work, trying to stay cool with battery-operated fans, using the battery-operated lights and candles, and setting up the camp kitchen on the lanai. We were asked to stay home, out of the way of first responders... but a couple of times a day I ventured up the road just far enough to get cell service. You knew you were getting close when cars were pulled onto the shoulder and your notifications started pinging! It was a chance to be in touch with the world, but not the people you were worried about most... unless they happened to have found a smidgen of service at the same time. It was a week before I talked to my parents again or was able to communicate with my sister.
In the aftermath of any storm come the stories we need to hear... neighbor helping neighbor, communities raising money for the families and areas that were hit hardest, volunteers pitching in to clean up the mess. My parents worked tirelessly at the zoo, helping it to open six weeks after the storm. We had a group come by and clean up the tree in the backyard. Our Community Foundation raised over two millions dollars for hurricane relief, and we are still doing good with what remains.

Our city is coming around again.
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June 10, 2018

sunday grace

Nineteen years apart...
I am ever thankful for these two...
the ways they have grown, and all of the ways they have grown me. 
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