Thursday, October 07, 2010

quick trip out east

I mentioned that I was heading East to attend a memorial service for a close family friend. It was a very quick trip but worth every second. It was an amazing experience to see family and celebrate John Randy's life. Because so many people couldn't come with us, I wanted to be sure I took as many pics as I could to try and capture the weekend. Making it more difficult, I can't share all 200+ pictures on the blog so I'm going to have a hard time picking through and just sharing a few.

I arrived in Charlotte at 5pm after leaving Anchorage at 2am! My brother had arrived a couple hours earlier so he rented a car and was waiting for me to drive the hour and a half to where we were meeting everyone else. We timed our arrival perfect with a dinner at a local Mexican food restaurant favorite with my parents, my sister, and Lois and Susie. Lois is the wife of John Randy and Susie is Lois' sister who has lived with and helped take care of John Randy for a long time. We had an awesome dinner...catching up...laughing...sharing...enjoying each other's company.

The next day was designated to be the GOLF day. John Randy and Lois were members of an exclusive club near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. Lois had arranged for us to play with some of John Randy's and Dad's old college buddies on this AMAZING golf course. We arrived early and hit some balls to loosen up. Then it was off to the single greatest golf experience I've had!

Scott warming up on the chipping green.

The Association of Former Students hydrating before the round.

The gang teeing it up at hole #1. Unfortunately they really enforced the common rule of no groups greater than we had to split up. Front 9, Dad played with his old college buddies and the back 9 he played with Scott and I.

I thought this was a great picture of Dad whacking the ball off the tee. I don't recall where it went exactly but I do remember laughing about it and teasing him that we'd always have a picture to remember what a bad shot it was. Whoops.

As Scott and I were waiting to make our approach shots, I took this of the old fellas putting around.

Scott's approach.

Who's that dude with the nice follow through?!

Scott took this awesome shot of me blasting out of the bunker.

"Hey look! Your son is hiding in the woods taking pictures of us! Don't mess up."

It looked good...but he still messed up.

On the 9th hole, Scott and I were still licking our wounds from a ridiculously bad 8th. I smacked my drive down the middle of the fairway. Scott hit his on the other side of this little creek. So as he looked for a place to cross to find his ball, I told him to wait so I could get the know, just in case he fell in.

Unfortunately....I mean...fortunately, he made it over.

Awesome 10th hole. I hit mine just to the right of the fairway bunker...but still managed to 3 putt for a bogie. Scott and Dad parred this hole.

Scott and Dad talking about life, lunch, the course, John Randy, or maybe just how great it was to be together again playing golf.

Signature hole. BEAUTIFUL!!

Scott never reads the blog so I'll say it here...hey Scott, you need to not go so far back on your backswing!

Dad making contact.

Love LOVE this picture. Give Scott credit for taking a great picture. Give me credit for having a nice follow-through. ;)

This picture will hopefully be blown up and framed on each of our walls soon.

The clubhouse...oh this BEAUTIFUL clubhouse.

After a quick shower, we headed out to Lois' house for dinner and support. It was an amazing night filled with learning about the man that shaped so many people's lives. I had a hard time going through the pictures and choosing which ones to share...because I want to share stories about the people that mean so much to me. In the end, I need to be respectful and I will just share a few. This is my sister and Susie. I had never known Susie until this past week...she is AMAZING!!! I feel like we've always been family.

Just a scene in the semi-chaotic kitchen. Some delicious bbq being served up.

I like this picture of Scott and Susie talking while doing some dishes.

Much later in the evening, Lois is entertaining us with a great story.

The next morning was the service. It was held at the 10th tee box and I think I heard over 200 people were in attendance. It is a testament to what an incredible man John Randy is. It was an emotional and very powerful service.

I'm not sharing most of my pictures except for this one. This man told stories about John Randy that really changed me. He made me realize how much I missed out by not knowing John Randy as an adult. You see I grew up with John Randy like an uncle. He was my dad's college roommate, best man at my parents wedding, and close friend...but I never knew him as an adult. This man told stories about John Randy's character, leadership, service, influence, honor, courage...traits that I strive to achieve every day.

I had feelings of guilt for not getting to know him better as a man...selfish that I was wrapped up in my own world while he struggled daily with brain cancer. But comforted by his strength...knowing that he was surrounded by people who loved him dearly and that he fought for four and a half LONG years when the doctor's said he wouldn't last one. What an incredible man. I am honored to have known him and to call him my friend.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

heading out of town

I wanted to do one more quick post before I head to the east coast for a quick visit. A close family friend passed away last month. My entire family is flying out to celebrate his life in South Carolina Monday and Tuesday. Dad said it best in an email...

"Randy’s impact on my family was great. What’s more, it is only one example of the many lives and families that he influenced. Randy will not be forgotten. I look forward to seeing them at the celebration of Randy’s life at the Valley."

So while it seems like a long way to fly for such a short visit, it is well worth the time to be there to join in the celebration and comfort my parents while they grieve for the loss of such a close friend.

But before I leave, I wanted to share a few pictures that Lisa took today of the girls playing in the leaves today.

See you later in the week!