Here I am at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning...and I am WIDE awake. Oh, the life of an insomniac.
At any rate, now's as good a time as any to finish my blog about the trip Reflection took to Racine, Wisconsin. I must admit, when my husband, Don, got sick with the cold I passed on to him, and couldn't make the trip, I struggled with the reality I'd be making the trip without him. In all the years I've known him, we've only been separated three times: once when he went to a mens' retreat, once when I flew to Northern Virginia when my grandson, Marcus, was born, and the last time was for a business meeting I had in Dallas two summers ago. (A word to the wise: never, ever, ever plan a trip to the South in the dead of summer. You might just melt in the heat.)
On the way to Racine, I sat in the backseat of the vehicle I rode in and prayed for the couple who'd be stuck with me. I was very apprehensive about staying with people I didn't know because I present with a huge group of challenges all my own. With rheumatoid arthritis and interstitial lung disease anything can happen at any time and I was fearful I'd be a burden. But the minute I met them, all that abated.
John and Diana Wells, a lovely empty nest couple like us, were the perfect hosts. Diana shared with me that they'd never volunteered to host anyone before, but honestly, I was shocked! They definitely have the gift of hospitality. I have NEVER, in all the years I've traveled with singing groups and stayed in peoples' homes, felt so welcome and accepted.
Sunday morning, we arose early, before daylight, and drove to John and Diana's favorite local breakfast cafe. Every Sunday they eat breakfast there before going to church. I had a great time there. The minute we opened the door, I was flooded with bittersweet memories of my parents and their cafe, much like this one. But more than that, again, I felt welcome. It sort of reminded me of "Cheers" when Norm would come in and everyone would shout out his name. One of the elderly gentleman at one table asked Diana who her friend was. My heart was touched when Diana told him I was their friend from Colorado. The man asked me "why in the world would you leave Colorado and come here?" I suppose I was seeing Racine from a visitor's eyes. It is beautiful there.
As we drove back to the Wells' lovely home, the sun was beginning its rise over Lake Michigan. I have never seen anything so breathtakingly beautiful. It took my breath away and I found it difficult to turn away. Pinks, purples, blues and grays filled the skies over the lake.
Later in the day we had lunch at the harbor and then I got a local's tour of the area. That night our group sang at their church, Calvary Memorial. One of the members of our group, John Friesma, grew up in that church and has many family members who still attend. John and Diana sat in the second pew and they beamed. I think Diana's sweet smile never left her lips.
When we left the following morning, I felt like I was leaving cherished friends; it was difficult to fathom that we'd known each other only a short 48 hours. Since then, I have plotted in my mind ways I can get them out to visit us in Colorado.
John and Diana, don't be a stranger. The porch light's on...just as yours was for me.