I grabbed Felix after the church ceremony this morning to get his graduation gown picture. He's happy to walk down the graduation aisle on Thursday, but a lot more happy to be finishing school in America!
Kate and Gayle live 3 houses down from us, and we finally made time to sit and chat over a scrumptious dinner. Tonight, over BBQ ribs, chicken, and savory pasta salad, we enjoyed an easy evening of laughter. We loved their pup Bapu's exploits with the kitty; Rasmus's long disappearance during the meal made for a good chuckle (he locked himself in the upstair's bathroom... good one!). Here's to our friends, Kate and Gayle, and what Felix called, "The perfect meal."
One of the first athletes I worked with was Jim Bennett back in 1978-79. An alpine ski racer and ski jumper, Jim went on to become a college professor and now helps manage our state's investments. Saturday night, we had dinner with some of his family, including his wife Kathy and daughter Johanna and son Mikey. Two other sons are off at college.
On Sunday, we took the 80-minute drive to Portland to watch Papermaker, a play by Monica Wood. A long-time friend of mine, Monnie (as she's called in the family) has been a dedicated writer of books and articles for many-many years. Her most recent book, a memoir titled When We Were the Kennedys, shares the story of when her mill worker father died on the way to work and how, like President John Kennedy's family, the Wood family persevered. It's a stunning book...
And the Papermaker proved to be a stunning play. The story revolves around a paper mill strike in Abbott Falls, Maine, a veiled Rumford/Mexico. The main characters are a mill worker and his cancer-stricken wife and the mill owner and his daughter. In the audience were generations of folks from the River Valley (the Rumford/Mexico region), including my soccer goalkeeper from the early 1980's and his family; Bailey's caretaker and her mill-worker husband; former high school classmates; friends... we were all swept away by the story because, on various levels, we have lived this story. The play helped the boys see the lives of blue collar workers more fully; many of their friends' parents work in the mill. Papermaker transported me back to the 1960s when my dad was out on strike and my own mother battled the cancer that eventually took her life.
I hope this play and our time together will be a special memory for the boys as they think back on their exchange in America.
We've started to talk about the final days of the exchange. And school coming to an end in 10 days... and graduation... and heading home... and saying goodbye to Bailey, who, as promised on their first day in Rumford way back in August, has not calmed down. We count the days, just like those of you at home.
This evening we attended the local community theater's murder mystery cafe! Dinner, a play, and a concert. Each table had to work on the clues to the murder and the actors came to each table and fielded our questions. Our favorite "Brenda" came with us and our favorite Aunt Connie directed the play! A directorial debut! Now, we have the other "Foreigns" visiting for the night. Congratulations to Connie for a superb job!
On Facebook, I selected certain photographs to showcase our trip to California, Nevada, and Arizona. You can see the complete Facebook album of photos by clicking on this sentence. The boys were so enthusiastic, positive, adventuresome, and interested during the trip. They were the best travel companions. I hope they remember this trip for a lifetime. I will.
We're here at my brother's and the boys are happy. And why not? They've hot tubbed, beached it, toured Hollywood, Beverly Hills, UCLA... and taken a boat around the Newport Beach Harbor. On Monday, we head off on our road trip to Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Sedona... and more. Here are a few photos.
The Kent Boys...
Rasmus and Felix are Danish and German exchange students. Throughout the year, we'll be posting photos and stories of our time together.