Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
This is a special, long-weekend diary. When we returned to The States a bit over five years ago, we set about reestablishing long-lost personal connections. For me, one of those was guys from my University of Portland fraternity, Sigma Tau Omega. It was a social, non-residential fraternity and had served as the base for much of my social life 50-some years ago.
I served in student government with one of the brothers, Ted Michaud, and now, half-a-century later, as almost-neighbors, we re-established a connection with Ted and met his wife Nancy. Since then, we have visited their place in Sonora and joined them at a Los Banos art benefit as well as a fraternity gathering in Livermore. (And they owe us a visit in Fresno.) Nice people.
This year, their family invited us to Ted and Nancy's 50th wedding anniversary in Sonora and we jumped at it! On Friday, we left early and took a long drive through the Sierra foothills, not the shortest route, but the most scenic. The hills have turned to their summer golden, despite snow remaining on the mountain ridge-line (If I would have remembered, it probably would have made some good pictures.)
Like weddings from decades earlier, this wedding anniversary was organized into a series of fun gatherings. We started out with a Friday round at Standard Pour, a recommended Sonoran watering hole.
Ted, Nancy, and family welcomed us, almost like long-lost family ourselves. We were introduced to the two smallest family folks, who would decorate all the gatherings with smiles and animation.
For the rest of the evening, Marianne and I chatted with people we knew as well as new folks, always a good combination. A great way to start our long weekend.
Saturday was a nice. slow day. We had a slow breakfast at the hotel, read a little, wandered into town, stopped at a shop or two, and ended up at the weekly farmer's market. We picked up fruit and scones for lunch back at the hotel room and started reading again. All this casual time was a real luxury!
Soon enough, we dressed in our best-but-casual and headed over to BPOE 1587. We were met by a real elk.
Inside, the party was already happening, 150 family and friends! Like the night before, we saw folks we did know and many more we did not, but everyone was festive and fun.
After dinner came family speeches. Daughter Jen gave a touching testimonial. Son Ryan read a caring poem. Ted, true to form, was both funny and sentimental. Nancy, also in character, expressed caring, joy, and enthusiasm. There was hardly a dry eye in the place.
The reward for all the speeches was cookies and music. I recollect that elaborate cookie tables are a mid-West or Southern thing, but it was most appreciated out here in the Sierra foothills too. The Elks DJ played a mix appropriate to remembering a wedding of the 1960s. SOME of the songs were even be fore MY time.
And, as with all weddings, the party including dancing, starting with the happy couple and family, young and younger. Even Marianne and I managed one song.
On Sunday morning, the Michaud Anniversary extravaganza continued with a brunch at their lovely home. We all enjoyed the warm sunny morning and continued conversations with old and new friends. I must have been busy talking, because, later, when I looked at my camera record, I had very few pictures. Oh well, trust me, everyone was smiling and having a great time.
By noon, we said good bye and promised to get together sooner rather than later, no need to wait for for another 50th Anniversary bash. (I am afraid that for Marianne and me, such an anniversary is outside expected lifespans.) At least some of these friends we show up again at the Michaud's for a California Sigma Tau gathering in October.
No other activities planned in the near future, but we never know.
Take care and come back.
John and Marianne