Surprise Rendezvous… (edited)

Bzzzz…. Bzzzz…

Someone was texting me. Casually I lifted the phone from my pocket to glance at the incoming text.

“I’m here. Where are you?”

Replying discreetly – “At the Red Panda.”

Slipped the phone back into my pocket before she sees me. We walked a little bit further when my phone buzzed again. I wandered away to read the message – “Where are you now?”

Replied – “Prairie Dog. Will return to the Red Panda.”

We walked back to the first exhibit. Stalling, I took a few more pictures.

She should be here any minute now – I whispered to myself.

“Well, hello!”

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The Caregiver’s Gift

I was a guest at a party last weekend. There were plenty of people I did not know but we were all there to celebrate a mutual friend’s retirement as an educator. The food was plentiful, the drinks were flowing, and laughter filled the air. It was a fun celebration and I was happy to be a part of it all.

When I filled my plate with food, I looked for a place to sit down. So many smiling faces and you could tell that this long-time educator was loved by many people.

Aha!

There was a seat on the couch with a TV tray waiting for my presence. I did not want to steamroll others so I patiently stood still for a few seconds in case someone else saw the same opportunity.

Will you look at the time?! Five seconds were up! No takers!

I walked across the room and carefully placed my plate on the tray. Before I sat down, I introduced myself to a couple who were already seated next to this same area. They were pleasant and the conversation flowed effortlessly. We were interrupted only one time when another friend stopped by to say hello to them.

When they returned to our own little conversation, she mentioned that they knew of two couples in their social circle who were undergoing cancer battles.

Then it hit me.

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Back To The Future Wedding

We had the honor and privilege of attending our second wedding in two weekends. The venue was perfect for an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.

Driving on the beautiful back roads of Vacaville, California, we turned into a gravel road and were instructed to park in the open fields of this spacious ranch. Neither of us have been here before though we have driven by this location several times in the past years.

As we walked towards the crowd, we found our seats under some shade as the sun was beginning its descent. The gazebo was the focal point of the proceedings. The ceremony was concise and I am sure the family members in the first couple of rows were very thankful for that as they sat in the hot sun.

The Newlyweds!!!

As we turned our attention to the reception, I saw an old friend standing in the shadows. She was a volunteer and I knew that I would catch up with her soon. During a break before the bride and groom reappeared, I stepped outside and bumped into my friend.

Then she told me some amazing facts about the Joyful Ranch.

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Beauty and The Beast

I have been learning how to be a better husband and displacing my selfish needs in exchange for enhancing my wife’s life and well-being. Most men need to improve their thought process in their relationships with their wives, fiancé, or girlfriends (whichever situation you are at the present time).

So what am I doing to improve my marriage?

Dating my wife each week of course.

We spend our Wednesday afternoons enjoying each other’s company. Dates do not always have to cost money (great news guys)!

The other day, we decided to stay home and watch a movie on Netflix. We agreed to watch Beauty and The Beast as we had missed it at the theater. It was fun to see the human actors and actresses reenact the movie.

When the movie ended, something dawned on me.

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Beautiful Bride

The day was perfect in all ways!

Recently, the weather in our local region had been unpredictable. Temperatures into the high-90’s were sometimes replaced with blustery afternoons. Planning an outdoor wedding would stress any couple during this time of year.

It was my honor to witness a very special wedding this past weekend. Who says that a large wedding is reserved only for the younger people. Why not a loving couple who cultivated a long-standing friendship for twenty-plus years and surrounded by friends and family who have been a part of their lives and long-term relationship?

Well, that is exactly what happened this past Saturday afternoon.

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Drive Down Memory Lane

A wonderful thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks to social media, I was able to reconnect with an old friend from 25+ years ago – gosh, am I really getting that old???

We agreed to meet at a coffee shop (name begins with an “S”) at the old town where our families first met years ago. I had moved away in 20001 so for me, it appeared that there was a lot of changes including this coffee shop we had our get-together.

The conversation flowed easily as we reminisced about old friends and marveled at how our sons had each grown up into young adults. He learned about the loss of my first wife as he remembered her kindness and personality. Though we both looked a bit more “filled-out”, the familiarity was so comforting.

Soon it was time to depart as my friend had a patient to see. We exchanged goodbyes and as I walked to my car, a thought came to mind. Why not drive down Refugio Valley Road to the old house and see what has changed.

With a smile, I started my engine and proceeded to the old familiar route… Continue reading “Drive Down Memory Lane”

Rough Start To Our Vacation

(this is the first of a series of stories from our recent cruise adventure)

Packing our suitcases, checking our list of necessary items for the trip, trying to stay healthy, and arranging for drop-off and pick-up transportation. All this for the start of our first cruise down the Pacific Coastline on the Grand Princess!

Excitement grew as each day drew closer to our embarkation date of April 1. Nothing was going to deter us from our wonderfully planned voyage. I was exceptionally excited as this would be my family’s first cruise ever! Finally, we could see what this cruising-lifestyle is all about.

Saturday morning arrived. We had to wait for my older son and his wife to arrive so that we can carpool together into San Francisco. Last-minute preparations and the loading of suitcases into the car with some extra room for their luggage.

My phone buzzed – it was my son calling probably to let me know they were almost here. Upon answering my phone, I heard the words that would deflate my enthusiasm.

Dad, we have a problem.

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