The Latest: Fall 2021

A hot, dry summer this year gave way to a hot, dry autumn here in Iowa. I don’t remember many October days in years past with temps in the 90s. In fact, our sump pump unknowingly died somewhere amidst the summer drought. When the fall rains finally came, we got to enjoy some flooding in the basement. Ugh!

September is our favorite time at the lake. The summer crowds are gone and things are much quieter, yet the weather remains very enjoyable. After our friends left on Labor Day, we stayed to enjoy some time, just the two of us.

“Hevel. Everything is hevel,” says the teacher.

Other than that, the fall has been quite enjoyable for Wendy and me. Wendy continues to take good care of her 94-year-old grandmother checking in on her during the week, taking her to appointments, and helping her with her daily needs. I became a certified Enneagram coach, which has been fun. Business travel is beginning to happen again. I made a trip to Texas in October and made a stop at one of my favorite places on earth for some much-needed quiet time.

With our beloved Cubs tanking early, our attention turned to football. We enjoyed getting out to both high school and college games. Our friends, Kev and Beck invited us to enjoy the entire college game day experience complete with tailgating before the evening game. The Cyclones even won in spectacular fashion, which was nice.

One of the joys of living life with our dear friends is the opportunity to be part of their children’s lives. Wendy and I felt so honored when our young friend, Harry, told his parents that on his 21st birthday he would like to have his first legal adult bevies with his parents, Wendy and me. We started the celebration at two of our favorite local watering holes and ended the evening back at the Vander Well pub. Fun to be part of another one of the young man’s rites-of-passage.

I was blessed with some of the best college professors back in the day. For the last three years majoring in theatre at Judson College, my Theatre prof was David McFadzean, who was not only one of the best theatre people I’ve ever worked with but was also a personal mentor in so many ways. Dave got his break and has done well as a Hollywood writer and producer. I was pleasantly surprised to get a call letting me know he and his wife, Liz, were making a cross-country road trip and had plans to spend a night in Pella. They came over for dinner and we enjoyed such a lovely evening catching up, talking theatre, and swapping stories.

Meals with friends has been sort of a theme for us this fall. One of my oldest and dearest of friends (and Taylor and Madison’s godfather) has been back in Iowa to help care for an ailing parent. He and I have been able to meet regularly for lunch, and it’s been fun to hang out with him and his son.

The Vander Well pub has also been a regular gathering place for friends, which makes us so happy. Just a few weeks ago we enjoyed a fun night out with the adults. Dinner out with cocktails and nightcaps at the pub. And, Wendy got to sport her awesome new boots.

One of our favorite things over the past couple of years is charcuterie nights. Wendy is quite gifted at putting out an amazing spread. It was so much fun to host friends for an evening of trying lots of different things while we swapped stories. I especially loved the story of our friends who met and were married in three weeks. A few weeks before charcuterie night, we were honored to be in their home to celebrate their 50th anniversary and I was asked to lead in a prayer of blessing over them. So much fun!

In family news, we were blessed to add two nephews to the growing brood. Wendy’s sister Suzanna, and her husband Chino, brought Ian into the world. Wendy’s brother Lucas, and his wife Brooke, brought Owen into the world. We can’t wait to meet Ian when we visit Mazatlan in January, and we loved having Owen visit us with his sister Anya.

The Scotland crew have been enjoying their fall in the gorgeous Scottish countryside. Milo continues to love dinosaurs and Transformers. They had a great visit to the Natural History Museum. Milo is also enjoying Rugby Tots, which Ya-Ya and Papa think is the coolest thing ever.

The South Carolina crew is also doing splendidly. Madison and G were able to take an overdue honeymoon trip to the Dominican this fall. Our fur-grandchild, Bertha, had hip surgery and is recovering well. Hazel is growing fast, as well.

I’m writing this post from the lake. For many years we’ve enjoyed annual spring and fall weekends with our friends, Kev and Beck. Busy lives and Covid have kept us from doing so for the last couple of years so it’s nice to be enjoying a lake weekend together again. Last night we enjoyed a dinner invitation from friends Dave and Lola, who also have a place at the lake. Dave smoked some salmon and we spent hours at the table. I so loved Lola’s comment as we grudgingly accepted the fact that the evening needed to end: “We could sit here and talk non-stop for twenty-four hours.” Indeed. It was our kind of night.

Did I mention Wendy’s awesome new boots? Cheers!

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