Happy 4th of July to all Americans…Dinner with more friends…Three days and counting…Saying goodbye has begun…

With the bright sun behind us, this photo didn’t come out too well, plus our plates of food look twice as big as they were.

I believe I met Lisa in 1990 and her husband Brian (her then-boyfriend) a short time later. The three of us became fast friends. In 1991, I met Tom, and he too fell into the groove of this good friendship with this lovely couple.

They lived in Minnesota, but after a few years, they moved to Las Vegas. We stayed in touch. Over the years, with son Richard residing in Henderson, Nevada, it became an ordinary course of action to see them when we visited Richard and my sister Susan who moved to Las Vegas many years ago.

Maynard’s on Lake Minnetonka has remained a popular lakeside restaurant since we left. We had a reservation, but outdoor seating wasn’t available when we arrived at 5:30 pm. Instead, the four of us dined indoors in a comfortable booth.

For those living outside the US, Henderson is an upscale less-hurried, and less-gambling-orientated suburb of Las Vegas, although the two cities are next door to one another. We’ll include more about Henderson after we get settled upon our pending arrival in three days.

Our friends, Lisa and Brian, drove from Wisconsin to have dinner with us on Sunday night.  Thank you both for coming to hang out with us.

In 2009, a year before I retired, I went to Henderson to help my son Richard with his booming real estate business. The market had crashed the prior year but morphed into an outrageously active marketplace for buyers and investors to purchase everything they could get their hands on.

Tom ordered the Kung Pao Chicken, which he found to be too spicy for his taste.

That wasn’t the case in Minnesota, which was barely chugging along after the economy had crashed. I left my share of our real estate company in the trustworthy hands of my business partner Theresa, while I took off for five months to help Richard.

We piled my car with the “stuff” I’d need for such an extended stay, including my beloved Australian Terrier Willie, and drove from Minnesota to Nevada, staying at dog-friendly hotels along the way. Willie immediately learned that if he knocked on the car door, we’d stop the car so he could go “potty.” I loved that dog!

I ordered the usual salad that has seen me through dining out every night in Minnesota, a variation of a Cobb Salad; chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, onions, olives with a side of sour cream. The blue cheese was missing, but I didn’t squeal.

The plan was for me to live with Richard while we worked together during that extended period. Moms and adult sons don’t necessarily make the best “roommates,” but we did our best and stayed out of each other’s way. 

The interaction between Willie and Richard’s pug Monty (now in doggie heaven along with Willie) created many laugh-worthy experiences we both still treasure today. 

Lisa ordered the chicken lettuce wraps. This would most likely have worked for me, but I was hungry, and this wasn’t enough food after not eating for almost 12 hours.

After we arrived and unpacked the car, Tom flew back to Minnesota on Halloween 2009 in time to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters who flocked to our neighborhood for the generous offerings from us and our friend/neighbors for their ambitious hike to our remote private road.

Upon my arrival, I had to apply for a Nevada real estate broker’s license, attending school, and taking a test. It took an entire month for the license to come through.

During these five months, I spent considerable time with Lisa and Brian, my only friends living in Las Vegas.  Tom flew back and forth on a few occasions to see me as we stayed in close touch by phone. It was a long five months being apart from one another.

Brian ordered the plain broiled chicken breasts with a baked potato.

Tom flew out for his birthday (December 23rd) and the Christmas holiday at Christmas that year. We had dinner at Lisa and Brian’s beautiful home, helping to prepare a few dishes while thoroughly enjoying spending the holiday with them and other friends.

When the five months ended, Willie and I returned to Minnesota, happy to be back with Tom, our home, and other family and friends. Being away for so long wasn’t easy.

Before leaving to travel the world in 2012, we spent some time in Nevada, again over the Christmas holiday, while establishing our Nevada residency. We got our Nevada driver’s licenses and spent quality time with family. It was during this period and we had a few opportunities to be with Lisa and Brian again.

After we’d left to travel, they moved back to the Midwest, this time in Wisconsin, to be near family. We hadn’t seen them until they joined us at the friend/readers Meet & Greet several weeks ago and then again on Sunday night. At the end of the evening, we all hugged a warm goodbye, knowing someday in the future, we’ll all be together again.

This morning son Greg, Camille, and three grandchildren came for breakfast at our hotel. We had a fabulous breakfast together with lots of delightful chatter. Later today, at 6:00 pm, we’ll meet them for dinner at our favorite restaurant, after which we’ll all say goodbye. The process has begun…

Photo from one year ago today, July 4, 2016:

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