Monday, March 13, 2006

1,000 Lakes Road

My husband Larry and I spent several days with friends Marcia and Larry D. at their home in the little town of Elma, several hours south of our home and snuggled into the countryside 7.5 miles off the main highway on a road we fondly refer to as, "1,000 Lakes Road."  The two Larry's worked together for many years at WWU before Larry D. retired.
Marcia and Larry traveled, visited their children and grandchildren, and friends across the country until the last few years.  Larry lost a kidney during surgery about seven years ago and now his remaining kidney is failing.  Marcia and Larry have seen one of their sons through cancer treatments and he is now on the road to recovery only to have their son-in-law suffer a spinal stroke.  Marcia is several hours away from her mother who is aging and living in a retirement care facility.  The saying goes, "God never gives you more than you can handle."  Marcia and Larry must be extremely strong people to handle so many difficulties in such a short time.The old saying, "life is short" comes home to haunt you when you realize that you get too busy to visit with those you know and care about.  It's easy to talk on the phone, send an email, and visit with friends and family close by.  When those we love are farther away life just seems to get more complicated.This trip was cancelled, rearranged, and changed several times, but finally completed this weekend.  It will not, however, be the last time.  We arrived to find the most wonderful gourmet dinner prepared for us with homemade oatmeal bread, stuffed tenderloin, potatoes au gratin, etc.  The two Larry's are wonderful cooks and love to show off for each other; so much the better for Marcia and me.  Marcia was not to be outdone and had prepared a wonderful lemon and chocolate torte for dessert.  We talked till we yawned and then said goodnight, tucked into a cozy cabin in the woods. Breakfast of hot coffee and Larry D's homemade bread was a wonderful way to start the day.  We took a drive into a little town of Montesano for lunch, a  tour of the local museum in Aberdeen where Larry volunteers and then a scenic drive in the country with a stop at the Estrella Family Creamery in the Wynoochee River Valley.  The owner Kelli is a friend of Marcia and Larry's and opened up just so we could taste the cheese and see the operation.  Of course we had to purchase several of our favorites to bring home.  Larry and Marcia had a culinary surprise still yet to come.  We drove down highway 12 to a little country grocery store to have dinner where we were met by Marcia and Larry's friends, Sally and Nells.  Who would have ever thought that through the front door of a country store, past the fast food nachos and hotdogs, and through a small doorway in the back that you could find fine furniture and gourmet dinning.  The menu had the typical items of hamburgers, fish and chips, sandwiches, etc., but Marcia said to ignore the menu because on Friday and Saturday night the chef, Kay, who had previously owned a restaurant that was "the place" to eat in Olympia would be cooking and there was no menu.  Kay is Korean and she prepared the most wonderful array of dishes with fresh ingredients and an emphasis on eating good food that is good for you.  The spare ribs fell off the bones but the pork in blackberry sauce was my absolute favorite.  My husband Larry loved the chicken with fresh mango but each and every one of the six dishes was excellent.  You just don't know where you will find a diamond unless you get to know the locals and thank goodness our friends know the locals. We arrived home to enjoy a slice of the lemon and chocolate torte and hot tea before bedtime. Breakfast on Saturday was filled with more good food, hot coffee, and conversation before we departed for home. We arrived with a dusting of snow on the ground and we left with a dusting of snow on the ground waving goodbye to our friends until the next visit.  Memories are what we have after the fact.  Today is for living and enjoying what we have, family, friends, and time.  Don't let life slip by you because we don't always get a second chance.  Pastor Bob said to live each day to the fullest, not to waste what God has given us.

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