Sitting here as a humdinger of a thunderstorm passes over. Windy, rainy, thunder, lightening and hail. Seeing 1/2-3/4″ hail on the porch. Kids were wondering where I came up with expression humdinger, but now I guess they know what humdinger describes.
Younger son wanted to go out and collect hail, I cautioned him that hail of that size could really hurt you. He said not to worry, and came back wearing his two heavy jackets, knee pads and his baseball helmet. At that point, I couldn’t think of how he could be better prepared. Off he went and came in with a bowl full of huge hailstones.
Last weekend I stopped off in Ft Collins Co to attends the wedding of the daughter of one of my best friends. The first evening that I was there I drove up College Ave to Old Town and had a beer at Coppersmith’s. I initially tasted their jalapeño beer. It was tasty, but I couldn’t quite resolve how much I would enjoy it after consuming a pint. Settled on a wheat beer.
As I sat sipping the beer, I was reflected on what had changed. I had lived in Ft Collins for 17 years prior to my 10 year stint in the Bay Area. My older sons were raised there; I went through a divorce and several years later married the wife, my partner at the farm and mother of our three kids.
As I sipped my beer, I made a trip down nostalgia lane. Several businesses were still there and thriving. The DQ which is only open about 6 months out of the year; the younger of the two older sons once dumped a strawberry sundae on the carpet in the Chevette, never did get that out. The Taco Bell where the esteemed Chef son had his first formative experience in the food industry – washing dishes.
Several places were no longer in business, Nico’s Catacombs where I had entertained several visitors from Hitachi (and where they had experienced Rocky Mountain Oysters for the first time; No not oysters from the sea!). Hickory House South has changed hands; this was the only restaurant where we could take the two older sons when they were very young. Left large tips to cover the french fries and parts of toasted cheese sandwiches strewn under the table (later in his teens the older son waited and bussed tables there; a form of justice I guess you could say).
As I sorted my feelings, I guess it is not unexpected that things change and the memories of places were mostly positive. I found, though, that my nostalgia went to dwell on the times that were less positive: the low points in life, the decisions or actions you wish you could have changed, the hard times that life throws at you, the missed opportunities or unfulfilled dreams. Felt a bit down, interesting that this nostalgia trip takes you there, because in general, life was good in Ft Collins and things have moved well since then.
Then the next day, I started my whirlwind visits to catch up with old friends. Had breakfast with the person who was my boss a large part of my career at HP. Visited another friend for lunch who I hadn’t seen since we lived in California. Had dinner at El Burrito with a couple who were with the first team I joined at HP. (And had the wonderful Pork and Avocado Taco, Chili Relleno and Pork Tamale at El Burrito, my absolute favorite dishes; oh and a few margueritas were consumed too ).
Saturday, I caught up with our neighbors, whose two baby girls I remembered are now in college. Had a wonderful lunch with one of our dear friends and her family on their 40 acre ranch with over a dozen horses. Went to the wedding and then the reception dinner. “The Dolly”, my friend’s daughter, was beautiful and it was such fun to see her two brothers. I remember them all as babies I once held. The sons are now over 6′!
Sunday I caught up with another good friend who is going through one of those low times of life. He is doing well and in spite of where he is at, he has the same energy, optimism that I have always enjoyed being around. Before heading to the airport, had lunch with another couple. She had lived with us both in Ft Collins and California, we have known them for years. Their young kids were a delight to read to after brunch.
As I sat at the airport, I sorted my feelings and experiences. Nostalgia is a funny thing, it can certainly be a mirror to remind you of the less than happy times. But what I realized is, it is the friends that really count. They are here and now, not memories. Even though it had been many years since seeing them, I found they bring the same energy and happiness to your life. Visits with friends are gifts, to be treasured!
Since I have been traveling a lot more with my new position at work, I have been missing my farm time. I was able to sneak up one night this week, several co-workers were in town from California. I picked up pizzas from Pino’s, the small family owned talian place in Henderson, and iced down some beer. I went to the garden and the tomatoes are ripening. Picked some Sun Golds, Juliet’s and another variety (small/medium size, purple/green in color), snipped some basil and oregano from the herb bed. Sliced the tomatoes, cut the basil into thin strips and added the oregano leaves; some sea salt, black pepper, EVOO and balsamic vinegar; made a lovely salad. Introduced my friends to dinner on the porch, gentle breeze blowing, quiet evening sounds starting up. Mmm, it was nice to be back at the farm.