Tuesday, February 23, 2016

46 years and counting

So in 1970 Phil went to Europe for the first time. He was 15 years old.  He fell in love- with Europe, with travel, with some girls... and one of them was Jean.  She was from Minnesota- as were a number of other girls and guys that were doing this immersion language academy classes in Salzburg that summer along with some "grand tour" style city touring. So his group from St Louis, including Barry and Julie (their chaperon Roy) and the group from Minnesota: Dave, Bruce, Jean, Barb, Pam Steve, Jim - et. al. became close friends and traveling companions - and along the way they picked up two kids from the NY/NJ group- Kevin and Liesi... They all became fast friends - who when they returned to their dull drab and decidedly very un-continental lives back in the states pined for their amazing friends from the Europe trip.  Six weeks of living together and learning together and singing (yes it was the era of folk songs and guitars and long straight hair parted in the middle) together had made them different people... so they arranged to have a reunion in Minnesota in 1972 and a partial reunion in St Louis at some point... during the interim periods they kept in touch with long letter and cassette tapes (remember this was the era of expensive long distance telephone calls- LOL)

time went on- they went to college- the group moved on and went to various places for careers and married and raised (to one degree or another) families- in other words life went on... then the Internet happened and at some point in the late 2000s they managed to find each other (or a lot of each others) and eventually got the idea of doing a reunion- decades since they had last been together.  Jean was the gal who put the whole thing together and so in September 2008 they had a group of a dozen or so get the "band back together" in Maine where Jean's husband's family had an island and several cottages for the group to bunk in.  They had a blast! 38 years after the trip and 36 later than the last reunion they came together and fell in thick as thieves again. A couple of years later they worked out another get together in Minnesota at Dave's place... then things fell apart again...

lives again got in the way- health and money issues and maybe more than one of them realized "you can't go home again" and understood that time and he/she had moved on... but last year - by happenstance there were four members and spouses in the same place at the same time and a mini reunion was held at DeSoto Park and a dinner in St Pete Beach capped the day together... folks caught up and it was easy and comfortable like it is with people you have known for four and a half decades (LOL- who said we were getting older? LOL)

and again this year - ringleader Barry pushed and prodded and four members got together yesterday with a few spouses and spent the day with lunch in Venice and then some time in Myakka River State Park... just being together and sharing stories and memories and news about their lives as we all move to one degree or another to retirement and life changes brought on with the process of getting older (aging parents come to mind LOL)

so we were lucky enough to host Jean (once of Minnesota and now located in Maine and possibly on her way to Florida for retirement.) She arrived on Sunday late in the afternoon and we relaxed before dinner on the island (Anna Maria) before dinner at Blue Marlin. Then Monday we headed south to where Barry and Ellen were renting for February and Tim & Liesi who had been in Clearwater did as well and we met at Crow's Nest in Venice for lunch - then had gelato in town at Ciao! and then headed to the park for outdoor time - walking the canopy walk (extremely short horizontal run but decent vertical) and a birdwalk board walk... just talking and catching up... later that evening Jean, Phil & I went to Waterfront for dinner and then today mid day Jean was off to Maine and back to winter and cold but with a heart warmed by her long time friends - because 46 years is a long time but it is no time at all....

so a few photos- and I will start with the group photo I took (there were others that will be shared hopefully)

no photos of the lunch place although there should be a picture of the group taken by the waitress- then the gelato stop-

then off to the wilderness- LOL

from the canopy walkway (above) to the bird walk (below)

gator and heron eye each other-

then pass by- sorry about the photos (cell phone and distant)

a tricolored heron-

they are "canopy" feeders - they psyche out the fish by spreading their wings and into a shadow- making the fish think they are in dense foliage and can't be seen- then voila! Lunch!!!

today Jean and I walked some of the beach on AMI- and got all the way to the southern point- across from Long Boat Key (LBK) the sky was blue the water turquoise and we were barefoot... life is good. We picked up Phil and went for lunch before Jean headed to the airport - I had the excellent fish tacos! with the grouper of course LOL-

so year 46 since the 1970 trip - part of the group are still making the commitment to see each other and keep the connections - others not so much... one woman had a baby shower (on Monday?) another guy had a trial setting which totally blew my mind because for all the years I and all my attorneys were bullied by judge's schedules, I never ever had a judge say to me (or one of my counsel) I will stay here- to be on your schedule and your experts' who have set aside time from their busy practices, despite my wanting to take time off.  LOL exactly the opposite. The judges left whenever they wanted and the attorneys were always at their beck and call.  So I found that one pretty lame... if I told you in 30+ years of practice how few times attorneys could change a trial calendar versus how many times a judge did it, you would actually feel sorry for the attorneys whose lives get rearranged by tyrants... but I have fallen into a rant - there will always be those who will commit to the friendship and those who make other things more important and that's life- we all make our own choices and go on...

So we are heading into the end of the semester for our classes. Spring term starts the week of March 7th and we have some fun times ahead with some events coming up- so stay tuned for a couple of NEW things - not just the symphony (which we do have) or the theater (which we also have) and the film festival (year three for us) time is already feeling short... so we pack in as much as we can... stay tuned....

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