Sunday, November 04, 2007

Treasures in friends and scenery

What a glorious day we spent yesterday, Saturday, November 3rd. We were camped at a KOA campground just outside of Corvallis OR for two reasons: 1) the drive from Corvallis to Newport came highly recommended to us (by both the Houston-Henckens in Las Vegas and our niece Sally in Las Vegas) as something we should NOT miss and 2) a very special friend from Marshall MO days lives there. So, thanks to Carol's generosity with her time, the two things were combined, and Carol became our driver and guide for the entire day as we saw some of the most magnificent ocean sights we have ever witnessed.
When we lived in Marshall MO (from '72-'85), our girls had a surrogate grandmother in "Grandma Marge"--what a blessing she was to our entire family. (On the other hand, is it a blessing when Grandma Marge tells your daughters not to be too concerned about their grades because no one goes through life with their GPA tattooed on their forehead!) Carol is Marge's daughter...and over the years in Marshall, Carol and her brother Frank both became our friends--after all, we had been adopted into Marge's family! We have all kept in touch over the ensuing years since Marge's death. and we have seen Frank on a couple of occasions, but this was our first personal visit with Carol--and what a great time we had. We shared stories about Marge all day and evening (and there were MANY!).
Carol took the pictures of us as we walked an area of beach and rocks and later explored a majestic lighthouse, where we climbed the 114 steps to the top--with great admiration for those persons who kept those lights burning to guide the sailors to safety!
One thing the signs warned us: don't turn your back on the ocean. But the waves were not coming in very far, so we were intent on trying to find a starfish nestled in the rocks...when a "sneaker wave" (aptly named, I must say!) came in on us and caught us unawares--and the rest of the day we hiked with wet jeans from the knees down, cold feet in very wet socks, and squishy tennis shoes!
Over supper at Carol's home, we had the opportunity to share more stories with Carol's husband, Dave...look at more family pictures that hung on Carol's walls... and a very special opportunity to get acquainted with their AFS (American Field Service) son, Michael, from the Ukraine. Talking with Michael brought back so many memories of our year with our AFS daughter, Ani (from Indonesia). We rejoice with Carol, Dave and Michael for the experiences they are sharing this year - and building a relationship that can last a lifetime.
His presence is enriching their lives as well - in fact, Dave is studying the Russian language at the university with Michael there as an at-home tutor! The city of Corvallis has a sister-city relationship with a city in the Ukraine and Dave &/or Carol have made 7 or 8 trips to the Ukraine before this year.
Our trip to Washington has been on-going for the last three weeks -- its been incredible, gorgeous, glorious and amazing - and tomorrow we will arrive in Sammamish WA, where we will make our home for the next year. As soon as we have internet service at the apartment, I will tell you all about that!
Love and prayers, Mary & Jerry
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