Last night in the US tonight. Could be the last night in the house where I grew up. My parents are talking about putting it on the market and I think they might be serious this time. I’m excited for them to figure out this next step in their lives and see what they find as they try to downsize a bit. Its kind of weird too though if I’m honest. But change is part of life, and a 40 plus year run in this house is a pretty good one. I’ve been lucky to have this place filled with memories to come back to through the years.
Speaking of memories, we’ve done pretty well making a few of our own this summer. We’ve had a great time with family and catching up with old friends. Seems like that might even have been a bit of the theme this summer. We made a stop in Boone to see the Grizzards in their new home and roamed the town I called home for 10 years in my younger days. It was fun to make the drive up Howard Knob and point out my old dorm and the sledding hill and other old stomping grounds to my boy.
A few days later we managed to catch up with another old friend from even further back. The other Ryan from my high school days took us out for a paddle on the mighty Haw River. The kids had fun paddling until they realized how hot it was out on the lake and that this whole paddling thing was really a lot of work. But we had a great time chatting about old times and catching up with what we’d been up to in the last 20 years since we’d seen each other. In fact, the conversation from the river that day inspired the kids to think about starting their own business.
Then it was off to the mountains and our adopted home of Asheville to hang with Sig and see another friend, Michael Franti. Ok, so he may not be a personal friend, but I’m telling you he can make you feel like you are. It was our second summer of seeing him in concert (you my recall that Maddox made his stage debut last year) and it lived up to the expectations. After getting the family pic with Michael, doing some yoga in the hot sun and jamming to a pre-concert mini concert, we headed to the big show and once again filled our hearts with music and love.
To top it all off, Josie managed to get on stage for the final song this year. I have never seen so much pure joy. (i’m not crying right now as I think about it) To top off the awesomeness, someone in the Franti FB group captured an amazing photo of Josie giving Michael five at the end of the show. If you’ve never checked him out, do yourself a favor and click here and stream some music while you keep reading.
The theme continued as we got to meet up with friends and mentors from our days in Ghana who had just retired from well over 20 years of international education and relocated to Asheville. Geoff and Rhona are some of our favorite people and it was so good to get the chance to reconnect with them. We had a wonderful night laughing and getting to know their kids who had driven down from the north to visit them in their new home. And this one included a bonus friend as Julie (Gran Gran) also showed up and joined the reunion. You know its been a good evening when your tummy and your heart is full and your cheeks hurt from all the laughter.
Through all the visits, the hours of talking and laughing and catching up, the thing that made it special for me was that my kids were getting to be a part of it all. I love that they got the chance to see these relationships that we’ve kept over the years across continents, or just reconnected after a few decades. Watching them listen to the stories, laugh at us when someone slipped with some language and jump into the conversations to share their own experiences and thoughts made me happy. Even though, at times, they grew a little restless and were ready to move on, I hope that these will be parts of the memories they hold on to and cherish as I will.
We’ll catch a plane in the morning headed back towards our home in Jordan. But we won’t make it there quite yet. We’ve got one more stop on the summer adventure in Croatia. I’m excited to explore a new country and build some new memories with my family, and I’m looking forward to being back in our own home as well.
Maybe next summer, we’ll be starting to create a house full of family memories of our own in Asheville. But that story is still under contract, so we’ll have to discuss it a little later.