Home Again!

Home from a relaxing, beautiful week at the lake.  No internet access, no cell phones, no television, no video games.  Just wonderful peace and quiet at a lovely, remote lake in a charming cottage with our family.

My dad, Grampy, took both Leah and Anthony fishing.  Both kids caught several small fish, which we released of course, over the course of the week.  While Anthony would tire of it fairly quickly, Leah was enthralled with the experience.  She’s asked for a pole, tackle box and worms for Christmas.

Anthony did very well this week, no melt-downs at all!  He was a perfectly delightful little boy who spent most of his time swimming.  Leah also spent a lot of time in the water.  One day the granddaughter of a neighbor came over to visit and Leah had a little girl to play with.  They are both seven and really had a great time together.

I’m at about 75% now.  The pain has greatly lessened and really only fires back up after I eat something.  I think this is the first time I haven’t gained weight on a vacation.

Walking helps tremendously, and there was a nice large circular road where we were.  I walked it several times a day.  On one of my first walks I noticed a cottage with abundant flowers, angels, wood carved creatures, etc.  There were so many flowers, it was difficult to see the porch.  The flowers were just breathtakingly lovely.  I don’t remember seeing a more beautiful flower garden.  I could have lived without the carved animals and angels, but to each his own.

As I was admiring this gorgeous flower garden, I thought I heard someone say “Hello there!” in a weak voice.  I could not locate a source for it.  When I came back, I heard it again.  This time accompanied by arms waving.  On the porch was an elderly man in a wheelchair.  We struck up a conversation about his beautiful flowers.

Glen’s beloved wife, Nancy, treasured her flowers.  She was feeling poorly last year.  They went into the hospital for tests, were told she had cancer and two months to live.  Nancy passed two weeks later.  Glen shared photos of her Celebration of Life ceremony and many stories of their life together.  I shared my loss of my brother Jeff with Glen.  He asked if the man who walks was my father, as he had lost his only son to cancer.  Of course, I had no idea my dad had met Glen but it turns out they had talked as well.

I spoke with Glen each time I went for a walk.  We shared our grief, our faith, our surety we will be reunited with out loved ones again in heaven.  We shared stories of Nancy and Jeff, cried together and became friends.

I asked Glen if I could take some photos of his flowers.  He was delighted!  I went back to the cottage and painted several floral watercolors for him.  We have very harsh winters here and there are no flowers anywhere.  I thought perhaps a few of Nancy’s flowers in his house might brighten his winter months.  I wrote a personal note to him as well and brought them over.

Glen was so touched by the letter and wept when he looked at the paintings.  He has decided he will frame them and hang them in the house where he can see them every day.

These few very simple watercolor paintings meant so much to him.  I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone respond so positively to something I made before.  While my quick paint sketches might mean something to him, his response has meant the world to me!  Never before has anyone responded with such joy to something I’ve made.  I was truly touched by it.

Glen and I have promised to see each other again next year.  I said, “Don’t forget me now!” and he asked “How could I ever do that?”  Meeting Glen, an 83 year old man, was the best part of my vacation.

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