. . . having covered more than 4000 miles in our weary old van! And other than a flukey brake issue the very first day (most likely caused by a hose that got yanked when George and Luke removed the running boards before the trip), the van did great. So thanks for praying.
I already wrote about Grace’s surprise arrival at the Denver airport. That marked the happy beginning of a wonderful time in Colorado. Parade and fireworks on the fourth. Swing dancing in the street to the music of the Glenn Miller Orchestra (the musicians use his original, hand-written scores!) A patriotic symphony in the Ford Amphitheater. Hiking, horseback riding, swimming, speaking French.
In case you’re wondering, speaking French isn’t usually part of our Colorado experience, but this year my parents hosted a 12-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother who live in Normandie and barely speak English. I was surprised at how much of my high school French came back to me as I attempted to communicate with Elisa and Theo. We played multi-lingual Scrabble, allowing words in French, English, Spanish, and Latin. When Theo played “PETER” we learned it’s French for “to fart.” (We looked it up in the French/English dictionary to be sure he wasn’t kidding.) Then the darlings proceeded to conjugate it for us in present tense, simple past tense, future, imperfect, etc. Tres amusante.
If I had to pick one favorite day from this trip, it would probably be July 7. In the morning we went to the Minturn Market–an eclectic collection of vendors where you can buy artisan soaps, jewelry, framed photography, cool clothes made from reclaimed fabrics, etc. We try to make it to the market every summer, and over the years we’ve discovered some of its treasures, one of which is the crepes. A few guys who look like they should be kayaking instead of cooking make them while you watch. One spreads the batter on a flat round griddle, thinning it with his wooden spatula. While it cooks, another prepares the fillings selected from a menu. Mine had salmon, brie, caramelized onions, spinach, and I don’t remember what else. Delectable! We ate them while listening to live music by a woman who played guitar and sang both original songs and covers. I liked her Norah Jones even better than Norah. We meandered through the booths and bought fixings for dinner: fabulous bread from a baker, handmade pasta, pesto mixed with sun-dried tomatoes and asiago cheese, and fresh organic produce.
That afternoon, Grace, my sister, and I headed to Vail in search of a “mother of the bride” dress for me. We found one at a fun and funky shop called Charm School Boutique. I absolutely love it! (The boutique and the dress.) It’s everything I hoped to find: not too youthful but definitely not matronly, elegant and unique with a flirty multi-layered hem that begs for a shot at the dance floor. Love the fabric. Love the cut. Love, love, love it.
As if the market and the dress weren’t enough for one day, that evening we gathered around the table and feasted on a medley of flavors that made us want to linger over every bite. When the meal was finished, George made a surprise announcement. In honor of my jubilee, he suggested they all go around the table and share what I mean to each of them! Wowsers. I wasn’t expecting that at all. George went first. Then one by one, they shared memories or expressed their reasons for gratitude or admiration. My mom and dad, brother and his wife, sister and her husband. My nephew, Brandon. Jacob, Grace, and Luke. It was a humbling, precious experience. Amazingly I didn’t cry (but my sweet daddy did). I just sat there, looking each one in the eye as they spoke, listening with joy and awe, overwhelmed by the beautiful things being said and the magnitude of love being poured out on me. I still marvel. Makes me want to express my appreciation to the people I love while I have the opportunity.
I’ll leave you with that thought, but I’ll be back later with stories about the Damoff family reunion in Ohio (old barns are fabulous) and our delightful visit with the Samsons in Lexington. I took more than 600 pictures on this trip! I’ll post some of those later, too. See you soon.