Good Evening (from Albany, OR)…Today is Sunday, August 12th...
I am ending the first few days of my journey back to My Janelle’s country. Boy, did she love the Northwestern United States. I am sure glad she choose to go to college in the Midwest and was willing to follow me wherever my career took us. I have wondered many times why she left this great part of the country back in 1976....but I am sure glad that she did...:-).
I had a busy few days leading up to my flight into Portland. Monday included dinner with daughter#2 (Brittany) and some social time with one of my FAVORITE fellow Panther Season Ticket Holders (Dee). Here is Dee & I taking a brief break from an intense discussion in regards to the upcoming season.
Great dinner on Tuesday night at the home of some of my SCCC friends (Phil / Susan) who have stood with us / me over the last year. My kind of meal; big STEAK, Potatoes, Salad & Bread. I could eat that pretty much every night of the week (could but can't)…
Wednesday I had a fun midday break. I was in need of getting a new Panther’s Jersey for the upcoming season, never fun to shop alone so I convinced my friend Holly to meet me for an undisclosed adventure. I just promised her (& her girls) that it would be fun. We met, I explained the plan and off we went to Bank of America Stadium, Home of the Carolina Panthers (& their Team Store). Success! My new #89 Black Steve Smith Jersey is waiting to be worn on opening day (September 16th)! From the shopping trip we headed north up to my favorite new eating place…CABOs. That’s the restaurant across the street from my favorite Tattoo shop…:-). Daughter#2 had not gotten enough of me on Monday so she joined us as well for a quick lunch. In the picture below, left to right are my shopping companions…Lydia, Moriah, Savannah & Holly. Sister Madeline has already started school and had to miss our fun. That is DeAngelo Williams in the background and Holly is holding my new Panthers Jersey!
How about that for a start of the week! Wednesday night, about 10:30pm, I decided perhaps I should pack since I was leaving early Thursday for my trip. Thursday was pretty exciting as well. This may get a bit long, but it is worth the read.
I really don’t believe in coincidences, I am more of a everything happens for a reason type of guy, even those things like the last year that I really don’t like. They do happen for a reason that some day becomes pretty evident on many differnet levels.
For those of you who travel, I have been a USAIR top traveler for like 25+ years. The best benefit for me, when it is time to board, I get to board immediately (they call it Zone 1 these days). It allows you to not worry about things like will all of the overhead storage be filled, etc. Anyway, they called us Zone 1 people and I head toward the gate. The lady very nicely informed me that only Zone 1 passengers could board, that she would make an announcement when it was time for ZONE 5. I just kind of laughed to myself. I of course am glad that I no longer have that Zone 1 status, because the reason I don’t have it is because I spent the last year taking care of My Janelle instead of flying all over the country.
So I do finally get on the plane with the rest of the Zone 5 passengers. Some of you might be surprised to know that I am actually a bit of a social introvert at times. Seriously! If I am at an event with people that perhaps I do not know very well, I sometimes have trouble interacting. Now of course, once I know somebody well, look out because than I can quickly turn into a social animal / life of the party. On airplanes it is a bit of hit and miss. On this morning, I sat down next to a lady & I assumed her husband. Did some brief introductions, Vicky & Ed. They live up at the Lake Norman area, heading to Montana on vacation. They asked me. I kind of told them I was going on vacation, but informed them that the main reason was to participate in the Brain Tumor Walk; that my wife had just recently passed away. Sometimes I feel kind of bad saying that because it tends to puts others in a little bit of an awkward situation. They of course offered their condolences, I thanked them.
Anyways I started flipping through my latest book that was given to me called Good Grief (Thank You Holly !). She had mentioned that perhaps it would also help me understand grief from Janelle’s Moms perspective. You know our grief is similar, but different. I lost my wife, she lost her daughter. So I am into my reading and all of a sudden, Vicky touches my arm and says “I want you to know, that I truly understand your pain”. Come to find out, Vicky lost her husband to Cancer back in 1999. She took care of him for a year. Ed was a friend of her husbands, a few years later they connected together. As you can imagine we had quite a conversation. I kind of went through my events of the last 12 months, her journey was very similar. So now I am back to reading, I am kind of thinking about grief from the perspective of losing a child as in the case of my Mother-in-Law. All of a sudden Vicky says, “I understand that as well.” Come to find out she lost her little boy at the age of 3, several years before her husband passed. Another very engaging conversation took place on how the two periods/types of grief are similar, but very different. Coincidence that I sat next to this unbelievable lady. I don’t think so.
Before we landed in Denver, I had been invited to their church, specifically to a 13 week Bible Study on grief that she leads. I am not sure I can sign up for 13 weeks, but I am planning one of these days to show up at church and hopefully just see my new friends Vicky and Ed and say Hello ….and Thanks. They also got to see lots of pictures (I probably have 1,500 on my iPad). Wedding, Family, Personal Favorites, I even showed them a few from My Janelle’s Visitation / Celebration services.
I did eventually make it to Portland, drove to Albany, had a nice dinner with Janelle’s Mom & Brother as well as her Aunt & Uncle who were visiting from St. Louis. But…before I got there, I had two hours to kill in Denver and figured a couple of IPAs may be just what I needed (picture on left). Did I say I was a social introvert? Picture on the right was emailed to me later in the day. It is a picture of me with Barbara and Marie. I don’t know their last names. I think they said they were from Houston, but I may have that wrong. They needed one extra chair for their table which I offered, but then they decided to just hang with me for a while. Ladies, I think I may have given you the blog address so if you are reading this, I hope your trip to wherever went well. I enjoyed sharing Denver with you for a few minutes.
Perhaps I need to stay back in my social Introvert mode a bit more….:-)
For my Pictures of Janelle section this week, I decided to grab a couple of my Ken & Janelle & Daughter#2 / Brittany pictures. On the left, this is definitely us after one of our regularly scheduled Monday night dinners which we use to do EVERY week. We are getting ready for desert. In case you don’t notice, there are SEVEN(7) containers of ice cream on that counter. You see, My Janelle was a bit challenged when ice cream was on sale Buy One, Get One Free. She always went for Buy Two, Get Two Free. I even remember once for a party when she did a Buy Four, Get Four Free. At least she is wearing her Curves exercise shirt to ward off all of those potential calories. On the right, the three of us at Brittany’s New House warming party a few years back.
And finally, this Saturday I will be participating in the Portland Brain Tumor Walk as a member of my Brother-In-Law's TEAM JANELLE. We have shirts! Front / Back pictured below. Very special words / design that Bob & Britt & Jessie worked on and of course it is a nice shade of Grey because that represents awareness for Brain Tumors. For all of you who have signed up to participate with us, we have TEAM JANELLE Shirts for you also!
Here is the link to the TEAM JANELLE's Captain’s main web page (Bob)…If you scroll down to the team members you can click on my name and see my page as well.
By the way for all of you Northwestern's, I would love to meet you if you have time next Saturday morning. I plan to be at the event around 7:30 (i think it starts at 9:00). I will have my TEAM JANELLE tshirt on. If you come out, please don't be shy to come up to me and introduce yourself. I will be the 6'3" social introvert guy hanging out around the registration tables.....
As always, thank you for your encouragement. I have a great week planned out here in Oregon. I will be seeing many friends including all of the ladies who were Janelle’s bridesmaids back on November 29th, 1980. I will provide some Oregon pictures next week as well. I will be flying home next Saturday evening on the red eye. I will plan to post next Sunday night from Charlotte if you are so inclined to visit me again.
Strength and Peace to You ….. Psalms 29:11