Top Honor goes to a chance meeting of Leighton Willhite, an Iwo Jima survivor from Rockville, IN. In fact, I shall now commit to making my next post about my introduction to him, the story is just too-too good.
After being away from home for 17 months, Brian was home on leave not once, but TWICE this summer. Looks like he'll make it home for Christmas too. A mother could get used to this.
By sheer chance, the day Brian got home, one of my favorite bloggers, from Canada, brought her son (my fantasy grandson) to Chicago for his birthday weekend. Nicole and Brian have also become friends through Facebook and email, so Brian and I booked it to the Brookfield Zoo to meet her.
Once we'd paid to get in to the Brookfield Zoo, we learned that Nicole and James were waiting for us at the Lincoln Park zoo. Doh!
Brother-in-law Tim gives Brian an appropriate welcome-home hug. Have I posted this before? It's one of my favorite all-time pictures. I love how happy Tim is to see Brian, and I'm sure that big smile was mutual on the other side of this shot.
My BFF Diane got married in June. I captured this photo just after she'd peeked out the window to see that her groom had, indeed, showed up. Yayyyy! He's here!
And Clint snapped this precious shot during the ceremony. I think she loves him, don't you?
Best pizza in the whole world: Get in your car, and drive to Grand Haven Michigan, and go into this old house-turned-Tavern, Fricano's pizza. A chance meeting with a stranger on Lake Michigan in 1994 begot a recommendation for this off-the-beaten-path pizza place, and I've eaten there every time I've ever returned.
Our trip to Grand Haven coincided with a salmon tournament. Not just buckets, but gurneys full of salmon were being rolled down the boardwalk.
These fishermen made short order of cleaning those fish. God, how I wanted to take one and run. Unfortch, I remained a spectator, and never did find out where they were cooking up that salmon.
Our camping crew got in a June trip down the river this year, before the drought hit hard and dried most of that water up.
Fourth of July was spent hopping around from cousin-to-cousin's houses, playing in their pools, and enjoying their fireworks. Oh, they spoiled me!
Demo Derby in July. Clint's son Craig helped build this one, for the volunteer fire department he works for. Crunch!
Partying with new coworkers-turned-friends. We stayed up and danced until the wee hour of 10pm that night. We did all have to go to work the next morning, after all.
I had a fun opportunity to join in a fire-training exercise. You'll notice I was too chicken to strap on an air mask and stay long. I pretty much stuck around for this photo op and then crawled out under the smoke. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I'll shake off the claustrophobia I felt with air mask, and stay for the heat.
More cousin time: Cory does plays a mean noodle, singing about his toes in the water and ass in the sand.
My friend Lisa sent me a note that she'd just taken a walk during her workday, and ran into elephants. I ran over after work, and we took another walk to see this imaginary elephant of hers. It was true!
This is Bunny. The elephant.
I gardened. I watered, weeded, and harvested a LOT of tomatoes. I am still harvesting a lot of tomatoes, along with basil, carrots, peppers, and onions. The first garden was everything I hoped it would be this summer.
Labor Day shrimp boil. Your choice: garlic butter or cocktail sauce.
April through August, those are the highlights. Next up: September, baby, followed by October. Crisp Autumn air is a relief after a stifling summer, and I'm gearing up to enjoy every single day of it. Here we go!
Oh, one more thing: I met a Chihuahua named Nacho this summer.