This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A week of saying goodbye to friends

Here are some friends that our Mission will also affect.
(At least my ego likes to let me think they will be effected)

Since we have lived in the same house for 33 years we have had many friends.
In the Fall of 2000 I was talking in the church parking lot with Mark Cutler and Harvey Hulme about our sons heading off to school and we were now empty nesters.  Our wives had always fantasied  about sharing cooking responsibilities so we said we should eat together one night a week.  Mike Grover and Randy Gardner joined in the conversation and soon we knew it might be a hard sell to the women.  So I said we needed to make it simple so the wives didn't feel the need to put on a Sunday type dinner.  We came up with some rules or guidelines:  One hour max.  6-7 pm don't show up early and don't linger after 7 pm - we all had other things to do.  No bringing food or helping with cleanup.  Serve what you would normally serve your family.  Pizza or cereal was O.K.  

I thought it worked pretty well.  Eventually, the Hulmes moved away and the Cutlers were often traveling so it ended up with the above three couples - Gardners, Skidmores and Grovers.  After a few years of telling the same stories over and over we thought we should write them down for our children.  We started off writing about the same topics, of first car, or engagement or childhood friend, but eventually we ran out of common topics and went to free choice.  Six people seemed an ideal number to sit around the table after a meal and read our stories in turn.  We had guidelines for that also:  two pages max, it was to be a story not an essay, and spouses were not to correct them, as they were your memories.

Because of traveling and other commitments our Monday nights were not held every Monday, but always happened if everyone was in town.  After four or five years I have over 140 personal stories of my life that are recorded that otherwise would not have been.

We have shared many happy and teary stories with each other over the years.   I constantly learn new things about these life long friends that I am sure their children won't know of until they read their parents' stories.

This is Val Stratford

I don't know how Val and I became friends or when.  I do know he got me into boating and golf many years ago, he and I had season tickets to the Oakland A's for over twenty years together.  Our seats were right behind home plate and I ate lots of bratwurst with sauerkraut.  We now end up having lunch together two or three times a week.  Kristi is very tolerant and my boys sort of roll their eyes and think people will talk.  We hit the same four or five restaurants and the waitresses know our orders there.  I guess it is a little weird but it is nice to be with someone you agree with on 90 percent of things.

Val is headed to Utah to tend grandkids this week so we probably had our last lunch for a while together.  I thought he was a good listener, but he told me Monday that I was a good listener so I suppose that is what friendship is all about. 

This is Ron and Judie Busch

Ron and Judie have been easy to explore the world with.
We have spent many weeks with them in Mexico, a month in Italy, a month in Egypt, Israel and Jordan, a month exploring South America and lots of weeks at Trinity Lake boating.  They just live around the corner from us.

These two couples are the Griggs from Colorado Springs and the Oborns from Montgomery, Alabama.  We first met in the U.S. Air Force in Germany in 1974.  We have been friends ever since and try to get together every other year for a week.   We went to Europe for five weeks with the Oborns and even couch surfed with them.  This photo was taken last September when we took ATV's to "hole in the rock" in southern Utah.  It is the Oborn's turn to host next time and both couples have booked a trip to Victoria Falls in Zambia.  I hope we get to see each other there.

There are so many more friends who are important in our lives and we have fond memories of shared activities with all of you.  Please keep in touch as we will get a little homesick occasionally.