I woke up excited about having lunch with Beth and Pam, two cousins (actually Beth was my mom’s cousin) I spent a lot of time with when we were growing up. Andrew and Alex invited me to join them at the pond at the Jones’ farm so I took a delightful walk there and sat with Alex where we talked and watched the water.
Lunch with the cousins was delightful at first. Beth’s house is amazing (it even has a bomb shelter). Lunch itself was delightful. We ate at a favorite of mine, Elgin Public House. Alas, we forgot to take a group photo! The not delightful part was the feelings I was sensing from Pam when the subjects of vaccination and covid came up. She would either walk away or change the subject*.
That afternoon (farmers eat early!) we went to Sue and Dennis’ for dinner and took a delightful walk around their farm later that evening. Tracey, Shane and Will stopped by later and chatted with Andrew and Alex. At that point all Dean’s relatives had met Alex.
*Days later I found out that she follows Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy when she sent us a link to sign up for his seminar. When Beth said she wasn’t interested, Pam responded with “What is going on is a spiritual battle of good and evil, not republicans and democrates [sic]or black and white, or whatever else they are trying to cause divisions with. I think what Mike Lindell is doing is worth listening to. How can you call what he is saying a conspiracy if you don’t listen to him for yourself and not from the media. Please give him an honest listen for yourself.”
We cannot go to Illinois without stopping by Rivendell Alpacas and visiting with Jill and Gordon. Jill was a longtime friend of my mom and, in a way, a second mother to me. Gordon is an all-round wonderful person. So after exploring the farm at Danny and Carol’s, showing Andrew and Alex our old haunts (Kitty Farm, Elgin, Heine Street) and having lunch at Culvers, we met Marissa and her niece at Rivendell Alpacas.
Jill and Gordon gave us a full tour. They are as amusing as always. We started in the house and had a sort of impromptu memorial service for my mom while we stood around the “rug” she painted on their upstairs bathroom floor. Then we visited the alpacas, walked in the “wilderness”, petted Freya and had a delightful conversation with Gordon and Jill.
After spending the afternoon with Jill and Gordon we drove back to Carol and Danny’s where a party was just beginning. Carol brought together her family so they could all meet Alex. What a delightful and kind thing to do! Seeing Leanne was as delightful as always and we had a couple good belly laughs. Oddly no photos were taken at the party, but I did take several of the sunset.
Andrew, Alex and Bennett (Clare’s friend from high school) arrived Monday night. I stayed up just long enough to welcome them and show them their rooms.
Because each day was similar, I’m grouping the delights together.
The pontoon boat was possibly the highlight of the trip. I think Dean took the crew out twice a day most days (Rupert, Chum, and I went out with them on Thursday). The kayaks were also a big hit; he Airbnb had two and Dean brought his two. We also used the fire pit. It was delightful watching everyone have so much fun.
The engagement party was indeed divine. It was delightful to share our home with so many interesting and friendly people, mostly friends of Andrew and Alex. I think everyone had a good time. I know I did.
I didn’t get too many photos, but there are more to come, I think. The photo at the top is of the artsy table where people could write fortunes for Andrew and Alex, create a paper fortune teller, or choose a fortune.
Andrew and Alex trained for a half-marathon and ran it this morning. They originally considered running in an established run, but decided to keep safe and just do it themselves. They both made it to at least 13 miles and enjoyed the celebration with several friends after. It was our first big gathering in over 17 months (which is not quite as long as that cicada at the end — he/she had to wait 17 years!)
Andrew gave me a spiral ginger plant. They also gave me a copy of Amanda Gorman’s poem that she read at the Inauguration. Alex gave me calming tea she created.
At one point during the evening I saw a text from Clare asking if I’d seen her video. I figured I’d wait until Andrew and Alex left before checking it out. Then Dean checked his phone and showed us the video. Clare recorded herself singing the chorus of Dan Bern’s Jerusalem!
This was a memorable Mother’s Day. The only thing missing was Clare, but she nearly made up for her absence.