Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Visit to Steamboat Springs

A friend of mine wanted to stay for the celebration of Young At Heart which would take place on Thursday, September 20, 2019. She had a problem because her family was heading to Steamboat Springs and leaving on Thursday also. Her lament was "why does everything happen at the same time?" Seeing her distress I offered to drive her to the mountains on Friday. That way she could attend the YAH celebration and still be with her family.

Friday morning we headed up I-70, turned at Silver Plume and stopped in Kremmling for a quick break. The scenery in spots was magnificent with a lot of yellow and gold.  We passed an area with  what looked like 200 or more small tents of different colors. I thought it was a fisherman's tent village. Later we found out that it was where the firemen sleep while fighting the forest fire that has been raging since June. We did see white smoke over the ridge of a mountain.

We arrived in Steamboat Springs and the GPS on my phone got us to the large and beautiful home. The house has three large bathrooms, and can sleep around eight persons. I had a choice of a bunk bed or sharing a bed with my friend. I chose to share the Queen size bed!

The last time I had been in Steamboat was when my grandson was playing soccer and my son was still alive! I recalled the fun time we had and how we had extended our stay another day to just enjoy being in the mountains. While my friend rested, I drove to the Yampa River where the trees sparkled in yellow and gold.

 Later we decided to visit Oak Creek about an hour away from Steamboat Springs. My friend knew of some Italian families who had lived in the area. What a surprise to see the one short street with a few buildings. Only a few seemed to be in business and we entered the one that had fall decorations on the outside. It happened to be a variety store and a flower shop. The clerk told us she was preparing bouquets for a wedding.

Back in Steamboat, we found Holy Name Catholic Church. One of the biggest churches I have ever seen in the United States. The statue of St. Francis is different than the usual statues of him.

We ate dinner at Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant and then returned to the house.  The next morning we had breakfast prepared by her son in law and his daughter of avocado and egg on toast! We then went looking for Pearl Lake which we were told was located about forty miles from Steamboat. We saw a solitary hot air balloon floating silently in the blue sky!

 Pearl Lake is a peaceful and colorful lake. There were a few paddle boarders, some kayaks, two children with their dog at the edge of the lake and us.

Later in the day, we went to an area near Oak Creek to a cabin where the rest of the family was staying. What a fun cabin that reminded me of a museum. We sat outside at they all talked about their first meetings. My friend's son in law's family from New York who he found after searching for his biological family.

On Sunday we began our trip back home and ran into a lot of smoke from the forest fire. It looked like a foggy day but with a charcoal smell. Once we reached Kremmling it was clear again but the drive home was slow because of all the traffic returning from the mountains.

What a fun weekend, what friendly people, and what a wonderful place to spend a few days!

Porch seems to say 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Forty Years of Togetherness

The 40th Anniversary of Young At Heart would be celebrated at the September dinner. I began working on a booklet in July and researched  two booklets prepared by one of the members. She had not only written the booklets for the 20th and 30th anniversaries but also worked on a newsletter for nineteen years.  I gathered a lot of information from the booklets and newsletters plus speaking with older members of the group though some of their memories were sketchy. Finally, a computer whiz lady and I put the final touches and completed the booklet. I wanted to show the way the group began in 1978 and what we were doing in 2019.

I ordered a t-shirt with the logo of Young At Heart designed by another member and when members saw my t-shirt many ordered one also. On the day of our celebration, we took a picture of some of the group sporting their t-shirts.

Through my years as the photographer for the group I was able to make a DVD showing the different functions of the YAH group and the places visited through out the years. The DVD was shown throughout the celebration for anyone who wanted to look up at the wall where the pictures were showing. I brought nine photo albums representing pictures from around the early 70's to current 2019 pictures.

A skit with some of the men showed them as past pastors of Spirit of Christ that had been involved with the Young at Heart group through the years. Trying to find priest collars was a searching of different ideas. Construction paper, sewing black cloths with white square, a hair band they could slip over their head, and by chance, at the dollar store, I found four black nylon knee highs. I took white paper, made a loop that I scotched taped together and rolled it on to the stocking.  A perfect priest collar that could be tied in the back of the neck. I was able to get comments from the real priests and their words were read by the pretend priests. Our pastor was the real priest who talked about Young at Heart.

At the same time I was working on the celebration other members were also doing their part. The decoration committee did a fabulous job of decorating the tables, another member ordered the cakes and had to take his shirt to the bakery so they could see what he wanted on the cake, Starburst candies had to be purchased to give to the September birthdays because Starbursts were given in the past. (At the October lunch the club will revert back to giving out Hershey candy bars!) The kitchen help spend hours preparing for the delicious meal and the helpers who served and cleaned up also put in their time. Two persons who buy and bring the drinks to the dinner also did their part of having the drinks ready after mass.  The president of the group explained the function of each Board member and mentioned that YAH could not function if it wasn't for all the helping hands ready to do their part. Some singers led the group in the theme song: Young At Heart by Frank Sinatra.

A special thanks for this 40th Anniversary to our pastor who celebrated mass before the group went to dinner. Also, to the many persons who attended the fun-filled affair. It may have been a lot of work, but YAH continues to function with the many beautiful Young At Heart members! 

A Friend Is Gone

I had not heard from my Facebook friend for about seven months. I figured it was the control that Facebook has that allows only a few friends to be seen. On Saturday, September 22, 2019, I received a message from my friend. How happy I was that once again she was writing to me on Facebook!  Now I would know what was happening in her large family. She was my contact person but as I read I saw that the message was a note from one of her sisters. She was letting everyone know that her sister had passed away and in order to let her friends know, she was using her sister's Facebook page.

Yesterday was the service for my friend's daughter who had also become my friend and Facebook contact. She kept me apprised of what was happening with her family and happenings in Greeley, Colorado. The last time I had seen her was at her brother's funeral about a year ago. And now, here I was, attending her funeral.

What I remember of the service yesterday was beautiful flowers, lots of music and kind words. Many members of her family spoke on her life and I had a feeling that I was getting to know her better. I felt as if her spirit was around as I listened to songs she sang and saw her family all with some sort of leopard accessory or dress. This had been a favorite pattern of hers. One relative told me she was wearing her dress and a sister had a blouse that belonged to the joyful sister. The men wore suspenders and bow ties and a nephew had a jacket and shoes with the leopard pattern.

I even had a blouse with the pattern and even though it is not me, I liked it because I knew she would have liked it also! There was sadness to know that the lovely lady was gone, yet at the same time there was a lot of joy. She had touched so many lives and given advice that was cherished by her nephews and nieces. She was that favorite aunt who loved and surprised all of her siblings' children. Poems were read, songs were sung, and words were spoken to commemorate her life. The whole affair was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful daughter, sister, relative and friend.

Sadness for the mother, my school friend, touched my heart. She had seven children and in about a year she lost her husband, her brother-in-law, her son and now her daughter. I looked at her and wondered where she got her strength to over come so many losses. We have been friends for over sixty-sixty years and I have seen her family grow up and to this day I still have problems remembering all the names of the large family. When my friend's grandchildren and great grandchildren came along I gave up trying to match children with parents!
A moment that warmed my heart was when I looked around for a place to sit down and was told by one of the relatives to sit with the family. I said, "But I am not family. "  "Yes you are, you are part of this family."  Later, I saw two school friends and was introduced to their families. So many memories
of when we were young made us laugh as we remembered escapades from high school.
At each seating of the round tables was a program and a small card for everyone to take home. Many pictures of my friend covered the program and the card. The card was sort of a Rubik's cube that as I flipped it around there would be more pictures. What a clever way to show the pictures of a loved one! Two large boards with pictures let me see what an active life with her family and friends she had led. I could tell she had lived her life to the fullest. I remembered years ago that we were at a dance and the music was wonderful but no one was dancing. My friend stood up and danced by herself until others joined her. I envied her spontaneity and how she was her own person and not afraid of what anyone would say. She knew how to enjoy herself and at the Celebration of Life yesterday again she showed us what a beautiful person she had been in her short life!

When I must leave you
for a little while, please do
not grieve and shed wild tears,
and hug your sorrow through
the years. But start out
bravely with a gallant smile; 
and for my sake and in my name
live on and do all things the same.
Feed not your loneliness on
empty days, but fill each 
waking hour in useful ways.
Reach out your hand in
comfort and in cheer and I
in turn will comfort you
and hold you near.
And never, never
be afraid to die
for I am waiting
for you in the sky!

My friend, now you can sing with the angels!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pooped on at A Rental Car Company

I rented a car to get away for the weekend and the price was $45.06. I asked the young man at the counter, (Dan), when I picked up the car, if I had unlimited mileage. He said, "Yes, all of Hertz cars have unlimited mileage." I had asked for a compact car yet he gave me a Toyota Camry for the same price. What a great bargain I thought, as I drove away from the Hertz lot.

Today I returned the car, with a full tank of gas, and was told the price was $72.55. I asked how could that be, since my receipt showed $45.06. The response was that it was only the Totaled Estimated Charge. The woman waiting on me would not give me a satisfactory answer but kept telling me I had rented the car on line through AAA and that I should have read the contract. I told her I had gone to the Hertz information to order the car and not to AAA.  I asked to speak to a manager and she said she was the manager. I asked to speak to someone higher than she was, and she told me to call the Billing Department. I did and I spoke with Rita, who basically told me the same thing; AAA has a mileage limit. I told her, as I also told the "manager" that the person who waited on me had said, "Hertz never charges for mileage because it is unlimited."

I returned to the manager and she already had the final papers completed. Now I understand why they take a deposit of $245. All she had to do was subtract the $72.55 from my credit card. I could not even refuse to pay until I got the problem straightened out!  I asked the young man sitting at the computer, "Didn't you tell me that it was unlimited mileage?" His response was, "I never knew Hertz had a mileage charge." Even with that comment the "manager" would not give me a break. She told me I should have read the contract. She was right on that count but I told her I went with what the clerk had told me.

When I got to my car, it had bird poop all over it and I couldn't help but think, now that is appropriate when renting a car from Hertz!

A thought ran through my head, if it looks too good to be true, question it. I ended up paying $24 a day when I could have gone some where else that advertised for $14.00 a day.  Live and learn!

I will write to Hertz and complain, yet I have a feeling this is how they make their money, a little hidden truth here and there. When I told the manager that the fellow who waited on me should have told me about the AAA mileage limit and she said, "He may not have known about it." I raised an eyebrow and said, "I don't think I am the first one that has been shocked by the news about AAA." I told her I did not believe I should have to pay the extra fee but she would not budge an inch! I rue the day that she came to wait on me because I feel that the young man would have charged me the $45.06 and that would have been the end of it. I got a feeling she was trying to show off her management position. She insisted I had not gone through Hertz to rent the car and I told her I had put Hertz Car Rentals when looking for a rental on line.

As per a blurb on the Internet some of the rental car rip-offs are mileage, over priced insurance and fuel. So my caveat to other people renting a car from Hertz is beware of hidden surprises that are not made clear at the time of rental!

My next move was to contact AAA to make them aware that since I think I am getting a discount because I am a member, that there was a surprise when I paid for the rental car. Nicole from Ft. Collins was the next available agent and she told me they have unlimited mileage whenever they go through Hertz. She had her manager call me and Paula will check with a Hertz representative to find out what and why I was charged. I sent her a copy of the contract and my guess is that nothing will be done but at least I feel better blogging about my experience with Hertz and getting my frustration off my chest!

The next day Paula asked that I send the actual receipt of what I paid. I got a copy from Dan at Hertz and forwarded to Paula. Before reaching any conclusion I received an email that her father had passed away and she would get back to me on Monday. I felt bad that she is having to deal with my problem when she has a much bigger sadness in her life.

I will close this blog for now until I hear next week. Hope it will be good news!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Broken Heart

I would venture to say that ninety percent of people have had their heart broken at one time or another. While I was in Steamboat Springs near the Yampa River, I happened to see a stone that reminded me of a heart broken in two. The thought that came to my mind was that a broken heart should be mended as soon as possible or weeds of sadness, doubt, anger, fear, mistrust, and despair would grow where the heart is cracked. A heart needs to be whole to have happiness so the broken heart needs to be mended to give it a try at love again. To think that a rock split in half would fill my mind with thoughts of love and broken hearts!

"The best way to heal
a broken heart, 
it turns out,
is to find a way
to move past the hurt."
Mary Kay Andrews