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Monday, June 2, 2014

Reception Reminiscing


One of the Alumni happenings I attended was the Alumnus of the Year reception for Mike Webb.  Mike was vice-principal when I was in school and his two kids Joe and Sara are former classmates and longtime friends of mine. Post-crowded parade, it made for a relaxing afternoon shared with many faces and personalities that I hadn't seen in quite some time. 



Kristy accompanied me down and just driving out the Grape Island roadway had the memories hazily humming in my head. There was a fair crowd already when we arrived.  The picnic tables were laden with food and the aromas of smoky meat were wafting from around the corner where Joe was grilling up a storm. I reconnected with many old friends like Dianna and Todd and Don and Julie and then soon realized I had inadvertently ignored some of my former teachers when I walked past them after congratulating Mike.  It was great fun catching up with my former homeroom teacher Mae Lewis and freshman English teacher Janis Yoho. Both of them looked and seemed great and both of them complimented my blog....there is some high praise indeed, my friends. In fact, the reception was certainly an opportunity to enjoy the company of many great ladies, including getting another "prom photo" with the Divine Ms. Dotte White.



The food was seriously yummy and it was a kick to sample some homemade wares from the Webb siblings. Joe smoked some killer wings and some spicy sausage wrapped in pancetta. Sara made some flavorful barbecue beans to accompany the meats and the I loved the hint of apple cider vinegar that came out in them. Sara also whipped up two amazing homemade pies: blackberry and rhubarb and both won raves from everyone. What the what, Webbs...Joe's not only one of my favorite writers with a Blog O' Awesomeness all his own found here but apparently a whiz with the smoker as well and Sara essentially aced both running AND cooking this weekend.  Dang...



  This familiar setting had me thinking about Joe and Sara's Mom Judy, who sadly is no longer with us. When I later got the opportunity to steal a couple of looks in their childhood home where I had plenty of my own memories, the images of those long-ago days just flooded my mind and I could hear Judy's voice in my head so clearly:

...a M*A*S*H finale party where I had to bury my face in a pillow so no one knew what I was doing...

Judy's voice: You sure fooled us with that pillow, Greg.

....a party when we were watching scary movies and our friend Sarah Jane got spooked outside and ran for the patio door only to find it closed....face-first.  I laughed so hard I think I pulled a rib out of place....

Judy's voice: Well, thank goodness Sarah Jane didn't get a concussion, you all really would have thought that hilarious.

...Judy putting out the usual vast and plentiful spread of delicious food and as I was putting a herculean effort into contemplating whether to try something new...rye and/or pumpernickel bread....
.
Judy's voice: Greg. Just try it. Live a little.

Yes indeed, Judy's voice.  Echoing through my head as I walked around the property. A fantastic wit that woman wielded and it was always backed up by her huge heart. I will never forget when I cajoled my parents into letting me go skiing with my 4-H group, but the trip itself was all we could afford and I didn't own ski clothes, so Judy without being asked, made sure I took Joe's ski suit. Judy was one of those Moms...and there were several...that looked out for all of us whether we were their kids or not. 

Watching Joe and Sara play excellent hosts for their Dad's reception and continue to just be excellent people in general, particularly here in the childhood home that evokes so many memories for all of us, was a gratifying thing indeed. I kept thinking of  Judy watching over them and how she has to be so completely proud of what amazing human beings they have become and from the looks of it, what amazing kids they are raising as well.

And just so you know....rye bread is my favorite bread.

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