Our family has a distant connection to Sam Emmanuel, who donated some of his collection to the Museum. We enjoyed reading about the Kopczynski orchestra and seeing our uncles in the front row!
From the Museum we walked to the Spirit Center and enjoyed a lovely tour by Sister Lillian. Marilyn, Karen, and I have enjoyed retreats here. Then we walked to the Inn, where four lovely rooms await guests who want to enjoy the quiet and awesome views.
For old times sake, we walked up the hill along the path of 14 Stations of the Cross, stopping at the Grotto for a quick Hail Mary. There was a wrestling tournament going on at the Prairie High School Gym to we walked in and were amazed at how small everything seemed compared to the way it felt when we were in high school. We looked at some of the boards capturing names of outstanding athletes - this one track and field stars. Larry went to the snack area and bought some popcorn.
We enjoyed some cocktails before our big dinner at the Keuterville Pub & Grub. Larry brought Strawberry Hill Wine, Cherry Vodka and Squirt.
Cherry Vodka and Squirt - just like high school!
The Keuterville Pub's owner, Linda, fixed us a dinner of prime rib. While we were waiting we looked at lots of old pictures of the area. Don expressed surprise at some old pictures of Cottonwood that we'd never seen before. Our uncle, John Hoene, owned the Hoene Implement.
Linda told her own story of moving to the area ten years or so ago, then caring for her mother who has MS, and finally her son who died of a brain tumor. I thought of the courageous heart reading from Joyce Rupp and noticed that it was Linda who knew "how to laugh and to enjoy life even in the most difficult of times." Stories unfolded about collecting money for swear words, even as much as $30 in one night. She never lost her sense of humor!
Sunday Morning = Snow!!!
We enjoyed a long morning sitting in the rocking chairs. Connie read a little from Mom's prayer book:
After our circle morning prayers we walked over to the Monastery, took a little tour on the main floor, noticed the clean, clean laundry room and then headed upstairs to the Chapel. Spike and Peggy greeted us with warm hugs. Allan particularly noticed the dwindling number of sisters present in the chapel. We were honored that so many greeted us after Mass - Sister Chanel, Sister Angela, Sister Bernice. We enjoyed a lovely Sunday dinner of turkey, real potatoes, dressing, egg souffle, salads, home made pickles! Maureen noticed the purple place mats and a small bowl filled with sand and a sign, "Thou art Dust." She said, "I love Lent because I love purple." We said goodbye to Don and Joan and spent some more time in our rocking chairs discussing forgiveness, acceptance, love, Richard Rohr's ideas, and the Catholic Church!
Larry spent hours making music CD's for us - one called "Breathe" and the other one "Summer."
Monday morning the Spokane car left around 8 AM and Connie and I stripped beds, cleaned out the refrigerator, and washed the dishes. We gathered up all our treasures, newly made CD's of Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary that Don made for us, Larry's music, and our Red Survival kits.
I unpacked mine after I got home. Look at all these great reminders of Connie's touch for the weekend!
From encouragement to smell the roses, to ensuring that we get a good night's sleep, to finding something sweet to share and hoping the weekend is filled with JOY! She must've spent hours labeling all these little treasures. I appreciate all that work and the meaning behind it.
Did we have fun? Did we create memories? Did we learn anything? Here's the EMails that have come in this week:
From Karen: I am so in awe of this weekend. I honestly feel it will be one of the most important experiences and memories of my life. There is so much memory associated with childhood and family. To have all of our relationships feel so open, loving and nurturing, is a gift in my life beyond description. I love all of you, and equally important for my life experience.....I feel so loved BY all of you! Reflecting on Sundays discussion about our personal friendships and possible lack of intimacy for some of us....to have an intimate family like ours has got to be a rare jewel of life experience.
I told Joe Booth in my office about the nine rocking chairs around the circular coffee table and he said it was great therapy. Like Karen, I feel it will be one of the most important experiences and memories. Absolutely priceless!
Thank you, Garry & Connie, and may God bless you for the Family Retreat, thanks Theresa for the wonderful soups and chocolate hearts, thanks Don for the great dinner at the Keuterville Pub & Grub and thanks to the travelers, Maureen, Allan and Karen for flying in, thanks Marilyn for the transportation to Cottonwood and thanks Larry for stoking up the stove. Hugs, Joan
Connie, it's you I thank for the gift of the weekend. From your prayers, your vision, your desire just to be together. You've never given me a greater gift - one that I'll forever treasure. The gifts of love, time, sharing and opportunities for growth!
Both of these came true for me! Let's not forget to thank Garry for providing the resources to make the trips possible. And Connie - the joy continues to fill my heart as I write this!