Sunday, July 20, 2008

21 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today is Sarah's 21st birthday! Happy Birthday Sass!!!!!!

Even though we are not with you today to celebrate your very special day, we are thinking about you and hoping you are having the best day ever. I baked a cake for all of us to enjoy in your honor.

We can't wait to see you in two weeks to celebrate with you.

I'm remembering today many of your past birthday's. When we had a pony in our tiny backyard. When we had the carnival and Dave was a clown and terrorized Andrew. Your tea party with all of your ballet friends. Your 10th birthday when we went to Knoebels Grove. Your 16th birthday when we all visited you in Washington DC and had brunch in Georgetown.

Even though you no longer live with us, you still bring us so much joy. I look forward to talking to you every day. Even if it's just for 5 minutes. I love hearing about what's going on in your life.

I hope this year brings you all the happiness, peace, joy, contentment, and love that you so deserve!


Thursday, July 17, 2008


I spent the beginning part of this week visiting my grandmother. I travelled to her house with my mom and my dad. No kids. Just my mom, my dad, and me. We had a great visit! My grandmother has such wonderful memories to share.

We spent hours sitting on her porch. We watched the cars and trucks pass on Centre Street. We watched the people walking about in the town. We spent a fair amount of time talking about these same people. We reminisced about my great-aunt Flossie who passed away this winter and lived in the adjoining house to my Nana's. Nana shared stories of other relatives who lived in the town over the years.

We made a visit to a nearby state park. Locust Lake. It is a gorgeous park! I grew up going to this park. When I was a child and visiting my grandparents' house with my siblings and four cousins, we would often go to the park for a walk in the afternoon. I imagine it was a nice change of pace for the grown ups to get us all out of the house for a while. My Nana would pack a cooler or basket with snacks and drinks. We'd walk around the trail that looped all the way around the lake. We always stopped at the playground. Nana and Poppop would sit on the benches and we'd all spend frantic minutes trying to play on everything at once. The swings, the see-saw, the jumpy bridge, the tire swing, the rolling log. Fun!! We'd continue on the loop and stop at a small bridge to watch the fishermen and see if we could spy a fish in the shallows. Next up was the amphitheater. It was used for different purposes in the camp ground. Church, movies, lectures etc. My cousin Chrissy and I loved to stand at the podium and pretend we were making speeches to a crowd of imaginary people seated on the log seats.

When I grew up, had kids of my own, and took them to visit Nana and Poppop, we would always include a trip to Locust Lake at some point in the visit. Nana would pack snacks and drinks for her great-grandchildren. We'd walk around the loop. Of course we visited the playground and my kids played on the same equipment that I grew up enjoying. My grandfather would talk to my kids about the mushrooms he'd hunt in the woods of the park. He told them plenty of fishing stories and would often stop to chat with a fishing buddy near the bridge. He always brought along peanuts to feed the squirrels. Poppop called all squirrels "Charlie". All the Charlies seemed to know Poppop.

Doug and I camped at Locust Lake several times with our kids. Since the park was so close to Nana and Poppop's house, they would often come to visit us in the evening to enjoy the campfire and a marshmallow or two. I saw my Poppop for the last time at Locust Lake other than a few minutes in the hospital when I said a painful, tearful good-bye to him. I treasure the memory of that last visit around the campfire at the Lake. I can still see his smile!

This visit was a different kind of visit. No kids. No Poppop. No playground. Quiet. Peaceful. Sitting still with our memories. My dad took a walk around the old loop while I sat with my mom and Nana on a bench in the shade. I went to the camp store and bought us some hand dipped ice cream to enjoy while we soaked in the beautiful day.

I hope someday Doug and I will bring our grand kids to Locust Lake and share with them all of the wonderful memories we have of this special place.