Details: trip to Colorado

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I am glad I made the decision to go. A 35th high school reunion is a once in a lifetime event, and being there with all of my good girlfriends just felt right. In addition, I got to visit briefly with family members who are living in Colorado.

On my first night in Fort Collins, my friends and I (Kate, Amy, Sally, Melinda and Kate’s sister Vicky), went to Ace Gillett’s, where my brother John, a drummer, has a weekly gig with his jazz band The Subterraneans. My sister Bink was the designer for this very popular nightspot, and my brother in law Greg’s beautiful photographs hang on the wall. My son August joined us for a bit and I felt pretty surrounded by and puffed up with pride by my family’s presence (even in absentia).

We (the girls) were all staying together in The Armstrong Hotel–again, of my sister’s design. Before we retired that night, there was a surprise–rings all around in honor of our friendship. Designed and crafted by my daughter Jemesii’s dear friend Hannah Blount, each sterling silver ring boasts five 14K gold barnacles; a perfect symbol of how my four friends and I have stuck together through the years. One of the barnacles on my ring is set with a small diamond, in honor of The One Hundred and the fact that each of my friends was there in spirit. I was (and am) overwhelmingly touched.

In the morning we convened at Snooze, a wonderful restaurant devoted to all thinks breakfast, and August was our waiter (more prideful puffery). After breakfast I grabbed a little time with Bink, brother in law Greg, and neice Zola and then squeezed in a short nap before the first official reunion event. Held at a local bar and eatery, the evening included some of our former teachers in addition to alumni. We greeted each other like long lost friends and in fact, many of us had not convened since graduation way back in 1977.

My close friends really cut me some slack on this trip (they were, in truth, quite protective) and I slept in on Saturday. Good sports all, they joined me for what was a second (and in the case of Melinda) third breakfast. We then wandered around town for a bit before retiring to our rooms for more reunion prep. My GI issues have increased in frequency (I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist next week) and this final night of the reunion I had to wait out several bouts of diarrhea before making an appearance (I said there would be details). It too, was a lovely evening and another sentimental journey as it was held upstairs at The Rio, a restaurant I worked at from the day it opened until just before my 30th birthday. The margaritas are still killer.

Sunday morning came too quickly, and it was time for goodbyes all around for our merry band. However, I still had plans of my own as my sister Rosalie and her husband Brian drove up from Boulder with my little nephew Magnus, who I was meeting for the first time. My niece Mesa joined us for yet another yummy breakfast at Snooze, with August as our ever charming and capable waiter. You take family time where you can get it! Unfortunately, midway through our meal, the winds picked up and the smoke blew in; actually raining ash on us as we ran to the car, wet bib pressed to Magnus’s face to protect him from the smoke.

Sunday night Mesa, August and I camped in at my sister Bink’s house (the rest of the family was at a soccer tournament in Phoenix). August cooked a delicious dinner and then we watched a movie together–just a perfectly lovely evening.

Early Monday morning the three of us got out of town ahead of the wind and were met by my brother John for lunch in Broomfield. An hour and a half later, August and Mesa dropped me off at the airport.

Although a truncated version of the trip I’d long planned, it was a wonderful visit; spent in the company of some of my dearest friends as well as family members I see too seldom. I took a calculated risk with the air quality, and I am grateful to members of my online support group who suggested the portable air purifier in addition to the H95 mask.

Sometimes, reason must take a back seat to longing; it is not just quantity but the quality of our days that matters.

10 responses to “Details: trip to Colorado

  1. Linnea, this one made me cry. Your time in CO seemed so very perfect! I only wish I could have seen you and hugged you too. I do remember your wonderful friends from high school. What a blessing to keep up with each other!

    • Carolyn, it as perfect. I do wish it had coincided with your trip. And hey, how about that VW? It is covered in tiny beads!

      love,
      Linnea

  2. This sounds like such a wonderful, and warm celebration of friendship. Again we nearly, but never quite cross paths. Made my first visit to Colorado earlier this month to attend a wedding (also a warm and wonderful celebration), and though worried that breathing would be a bit of a problem (the wedding was at 9,000 ft. and the day after my arrival arranged the wedding flowers while gulping air, but did fine. In company of my two girls toured for a few days after…top of Pike’s Peak (really gulping the air there), and ended in Boulder where I had the best breakfast of my life in…Snooze! I also had the chance to figure out why you’re so nice…you came from Colorado…we decided that that’s the other place where people are really, really nice (you know, like NH).

    • Marj, our lives are somehow in a parallel universe; someday we must make them cross. The altitude got me too. As soon as I deboarded and found myself gulping for air, I wondered if I’d made a big mistake. Likely, I acclimated quickly but not sure what would have happened at the top of Pike’s Peak (brave of you).

      People in the west are generally warmer and more open; there is a certain reserve that took some getting used to when I moved to the east coast. Occasionally it is just good manners 🙂 I would agree with you that the people in NH also tend to be a good bunch. But Massachusetts has it good points as well…

      Linnea

  3. Hello Lung Warrior. Ever so pleased to meet you, although not pleased at all about the circumstances. My husband was diagnosed in 08/2011 with Stage IV NSCLC with bone mets in the spine up to T3. I am so happy to see you LIVING this long after diagnosis. May I ask what stage you were when first diagnosed? Thus far we have been trusting in the research clinic, but lately I feel the need to be more proactive…learn more…fight harder. I will be reading your blog daily. Just finding you has given me great resolve. **blows kisses** Deborah

    • Hi Deborah, I too am sorry about the circumstance. I was a stage IB when diagnosed, but despite removal of my left lower lobe and four rounds of adjuvant chemo with cisplatin/taxotere, I experienced a slow but sustained recurrence almost immediately. I have been ‘officially’ stage IV since summer of 2008, but realistically the cancer had spread to both lungs long before that.

      Best of luck moving forward and thank goodness for new research in lung cancer. Traditional therapy is enough for some, but there are many of us who view clinical trials as a lifeline.

      Linnea

  4. Such a precious trip. Good for you and I love how much you treasure the simple moments along the way.

  5. Dear Linnea – I am glad you had the courage to go to this reunion in spite of the air quality. Sounds wonderful. I was in England from May 17th to June 4th and met up with four good friends from high school. One of them I hadn’t seen since we said goodbye 46 years ago when she emigrated to Australia. These moments are precious and should be embraced with joy. “Momentos que no vuelven nunca mas”.
    Beryl

    • Beryl, it was more stubbornness than courage–my dear friends and I had this reunion in the planning stages for almost a year, and I wasn’t going to miss it. And yes (it is far lovelier in spanish), we get just one shot at those special moments. I’m glad you had a good trip to England and were able to enjoy your own reunion.

      love,
      Linnea

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