A week ago today, I was sitting at a McDonald's catching up with a dear friend from Indiana. We had been attempting to meet for the day (the drive is a bit longer for her, but there is quite a nice antique mall near there, which is always a good incentive). I met Shirley close to 18 years ago when we attended Bethel church in West Lafayette, Indiana. Shirley and Jerry sang together in a group we called "The Ensemble" (ok--not an original name, but boy, could that group sing!). Our children are the same ages, and we just "clicked". Through the years, we've had many joys and sorrows that we have seen each other through. I haven't seen her in at least a couple of years, and was so excited to get to see her, that I forgot to take a picture of the two of us. Our visit wasn't long enough, but we plan on getting together with our husbands some weekend in the near future.
My week wasn't over, though. Friday, Jerry and I drove to Anna, Illinois to meet Sheila (my high school best friend of 42 years) and her husband, Dennis. We stayed at a bed and breakfast named The Davie School Inn. The innkeeper, Gary, was a fabulous host. Several years ago, the four of us (along with Stephie) stayed at a place called The Old Squat Inn. Trust me, we never, never want to go back there, but it has given us lots of laughs over the year. The Davie School Inn was perfect! Each room is named a color. It will come as no surprise to any of my life-long friends that Jerry and I stayed in the pink room. It wasn't overly pink, of which I'm sure Jerry was quite happy about. He has been hankering to try out a Temper-Pedic mattress, so he didn't care what color room it was. We were thrilled with our room. I liked that it was extra roomy, and the soft towels were an added bonus.
We got there well before Sheila and Dennis, so Gary suggested that we try The Blue Boar Restaurant. Once we got settled in the room, we headed out for dinner. Southern Illinois is like southern Indiana, and has gentle rolling hills, and it was actually in the lower 60's, so that was very pleasant. We had a nice dinner, and as we were leaving, we saw that next to the restaurant was a rock formation with a natural spring coming out of it. They had built a nice bridge and sitting area next to it, so we wandered over to look at it. The taxidermy animals were inside of the restaurant, over to the side from where I was sitting. I'm not sure what they are supposed to be representing (or doing), but as you can guess, I had to take a picture of them.
Sheila and Dennis arrived around 10:30, and we all met in their room (the yellow room) to enjoy the Gigi cupcakes that Sheila had brought. It was a wonderful way to celebrate a myriad of things: Jerry's new job, our 42 year friendship, my birthday (a little late) and just general love for each other. We planned on meeting in their room for breakfast, as Gary brings breakfast to you whenever you want (within reason, of course). Sure enough, at 8:30 the next morning, Gary knocked on the door and brought in omelets, hash browns, bacon, fresh fruit, pastries and orange juice. Holy cow it was good! Sheila's room had a table that four could easily sit at and enjoy the meal. After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we got ready for our shopping expeditions. Gary had told us of a town in Missouri that had a stream of fun thrift/antique stores, so the two of us headed out, while our husbands lounged around watching NCAA basketball.
We easily found the town (which, thinking back on it, is a major surprise for us--yay for GPS). The stores were very fun to poke around in, and the prices were wonderful--much better than here in central Illinois. Just the outside decoration of the first shop was fun to see.
We poked around and shopped for most of the afternoon. By the time we got back, it was just about time for dinner. Gary had suggested an all-you-can-eat fried chicken restaurant that was fabulous. Our dinner had fried chicken, along with homemade biscuits and apple butter, homemade dumplings (savory), green beans, and cole slaw. Yum! This is a picture of the four of us at dinner.
By this time, we were kind of waddling back to the inn, and spent the evening in our room catching up and making new memories. What fun Sheila and I have together, and we're very blessed that our husbands get along so well together. The next morning, Gary brought us baked french toast, sausage, and fresh fruit for breakfast. We sat and talked some more (we had a list of things to discuss that Sheila had written on the blackboard, although we did all get in trouble and had our names put on the board before the weekend was over) before we had to head out to get back home in time to pick up our beagles. I am so blessed that God put Sheila into my life all of those many years ago. We have been through so much together, and we don't get to see each other nearly enough. We've promised ourselves that we won't wait another 10 years before we do this again (and we will definitely go back to Davie School Inn instead of The Old Squat Inn). I'm back to catching up on things before heading back to work tomorrow. Spring hasn't arrived quite yet, but I'm hoping that by Easter, we will at least have a few warmer days. I'm also hoping for a good strawberry crop this year, so if that means that spring comes a little later than last year, I'm ok with that.
I hope that each of you have a wonderful spring, and that you count your blessings for each person that God has put into your life. I know that I thank God for both Shirley and Sheila and the love that they have given me, and I love them both. Thank you for the love and memories from both of you this past week.