A Feast of Friendship

Marian and I celebrated our 49th Wedding Anniversary ten days ago. When I asked her where she would like to go to celebrate, she said “Long Island.” It’s almost a year since we left the island, and much as we love our new home in the New Hampshire Lakes Region, we left many friends behind on Long Island. 18 years in one place (the longest I have lived anywhere) will do that to you, especially if you are as deeply involved in people’s lives as a pastor and wife are. So we went back for a few days, staying with our good friends Loretta and Neil in their lovely and spacious home (with pool!).

We had a feast of friendship! Thursday evening was dinner with six friends at our favorite restaurant – Desmond’s at the East Wind Hotel. We ate and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company for hours. On Friday morning Loretta invited the seven members of Marian’s “Yada-Yada Sisters” sharing and prayer group to meet around her dining table, followed by a typically-Loretta lunch. Friday evening was pizza with another old friend.

Saturday dawned sunny and warm, and seven of us set off in two cars for a winery tour on the North Fork. Picnic lunch was at Laurel Lakes winery, where over a hundred people were enjoying a perfect late summer day at picnic tables surrounding the tasting bar on the edge of the vineyard. DSC_0054

Then we moved on to Castello di Borghese Vineyard, where our old friend Marguerite was singing that day. Did we surprise her! DSC_0059 DSC_0057

The final stop of the afternoon was Macari Vineyards in Cutchogue, where we met up with Diane’s son and daughter-in-law, and Kris’s daughter.  DSC_0064

We returned to Loretta and Neil’s tired and happy, enjoyed a light supper, and retired early to bed! Sunday morning we took our hosts to the local Lutheran church where Marian and I worshipped for many months before we left LI. The afternoon was perfect for a swim! DSC_0037

Monday morning we packed and headed for Orient Point and the ferry back to CT, and a peaceful drive home to NH. What a happy four days! Thank God for good friends made over 16 years on LI. Our lives are bound together by ties of love and faith, and by the many deep experiences we shared – weddings, funerals, serious illnesses and surgeries. We will always be friends who are at ease with one another and can pick up conversations where we left off months before. We may now be separated by miles, but our hearts will never be.

 

 

 

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Vacation

Three months into our new lives on Shellcamp Lake in Gilmanton, NH, we decided to take a vacation! The boxes are emptied, the shelves are up in the family room/library and in the garage, and we decided we deserved a break. So we went to Maine. No surprise, if you have read A Maine Winter. Now it was time to see Belfast and the Mid-Coast in mid-summer. We chose the weekend when the landlady of our “cozy cottage overlooking Belfast Harbor” was holding an “Open Garden” for the community and her wonderful flower garden would look its best. It certainly did!    DSC_0040 Our RV found its way back to our favorite campground in East Belfast, overlooking Penobscot Bay. It was as lovely as we remembered from last summer, when we had first entertained the idea of relocating to Belfast once our home on Long Island sold.   DSC_0045 We spent days revisiting parts of Belfast we had known all though our “trial winter;” the summer warmth, the tourists, the boats in marinas and harbor quickly erased our memories of snow, ice and cold! DSC_0073   DSC_0079 DSC_0082 One day was spent visiting Acadia National Park. During our winter stay, friends would sometimes ask “Have you been to Arcadia?” Our rather abrupt answer was “No-one goes anywhere they don’t have to during a Maine winter!” But now we were able to enjoy Acadia on a perfect summer day. We had forgotten how lovely it is – our last visit was over 30 years ago!    DSC_0056 DSC_0059 DSC_0063 Then back to NH, which seems so much milder, gentler, more “southern” New England than the rugged coasts of Maine. What a pleasure to live in one and be able to visit the other!  But one thing Gilmanton and Belfast share is that early August already carries a touch of Fall! Some color is appearing in the sugar maples, the sumac beside the roads is turning red, and purple loose-strife fills the ditches. We shall enjoy every warm day in August, knowing that it will get cold all too soon!