In what is now becoming a “regular trip schedule”, I had my June trip to Round Rock, TX. this is a periodic review of my group’s business. Over the past two years that I have been heading the group, I’ve started to become comfortable enough on taking care of the “needs” that I have found time to have dinner with colleagues that live in the Austin Area.
So for the first time in a while, I added a leg to Chicago, to visit my folks. It was way overdue. Possibly 3 years since my last “brief” stay in Chicago. I almost gave in to the temptation of a “family only” trip, since I was only planning a three day stay. But instead, I planned one side visit, and accepted a second last-moment side visit. And it was one of the best decisions I have made in a while.
The first side visit was a planned lunch with Connie Putney. She was my high school English Literature teacher. Yes, I’m a geek who keeps up with three of my past teachers – Ruth Montrose (6th grade, by regular mail), Preston Hayes (HS Chemistry) by Facebook, and Connie (by email and Facebook). After three years of connecting by internet, we finally got together for lunch. A really fun time continuing on conversations we had had by text, but adding energy that can only happen by direct interaction. Thus started my first thematic comment “A Lunch Date 30 years in the making”.
The second side visit was unplanned. I suspected that news of my visit to Chicago would prompt other friends and family to ask if I had the time to visit. Sure enough, I received a Facebook message from a friend within 15 minutes of landing, asking if there was the possibility of a coffee meet. But it was a friend I was not expecting, and one who set the way-back machine even further. And there was a bond that was unexpectedly broken, but somehow restored when she and I reconnected again over the last few years by FB. So the unplanned dinner with Cheri McElroy, who goes back to my second or third year of high school, before her family moved from Chicago to San Diego. We continued to exchange mail for a couple of years, before I headed off to college. The irony was that she came back to Chicago permanently while I shipped off to the West Coast. But again, it was a couple of hours where the stories flowed, we caught each other up to the present, and can continue our friendship forward as if the 33 years hadn’t passed us by.
The remaining day was the “family visit” evening with the aunts and cousins over for dinner. My family gatherings tend to be very low key affairs, and some things don’t change. Just another way to have a “touch point” with the family over the distance between us.
It was a brief, but necessary break from the world I have been living for the past several years. My day job at Toppan. My leadership role with Tour de Cure / Diabetes Association. All the Margo health issues. And it finally reminded me of how little time I have had to smell the roses and take some time for myself, unencumbered by responsibilities and deadlines. And Connie and Cheri reminded me by their company that I have many special friends who I miss and need to stay connected, at least periodically.
The complete set of photos on Smugmug (link here)