Over the past ten years or so, basically since Reese and I started moving around so much, I have tried not to get too close to anyone we have met. It always seemed that as soon as we did, it was time to move. Well, this time it didn’t happen that way, and we have made many good friends during our time here in Washington.
First there was Lou. He lives around the corner. Our first day in the house he came by to say hello. We had barely begun to unpack and he came on in and showed himself around. We thought – what a weirdo! But as we got to know him, well, that was just Lou. Very nice man and his wife is wonderful. The strangest thing, every time we spoke with him for more than a passing hello, we always went away wanting sandwiches – then we found out he worked for a pickle company. He has recently retired and we are trusting him with the care of our lawn when we leave for Florida. He has a beautiful yard and who better to care for it than the owner of one of the most beautiful lawns in the neighborhood?
Next we met Taryn’s parents, Pat and Kathy. Taryn went to kindergarten with Little Reese in Vancouver and we were thrilled to find out that they lived in Ridgefield and she was to go to the same school as Reese. They even ended up in the same class in the second, third and fourth grades. Taryn is a bit – no, not a bit – she is a HUGE tomboy! You name the sport and she can kick the boys butts in it. Little Reese has had a lot of fun with her. Kathy lets Reese sleep over – which I thought was kind of weird to begin with, a boy spending the night at a girl’s house- they were only 6 and 7, but still…then I got to know Taryn and well, it wasn’t such a big deal then. I tell her all of the time though, that one day, she will “turn into a girl”…but, it may take a while. In the mean time, I love to watch her give all the boys a run for their money!
Then there was Lynn. She came to the door to introduce herself shortly after I had my wisdom teeth taken out and I really wasn’t much in the mood to meet or greet anyone, but she was very persistent. I am so grateful for that. I think that if she hadn’t been, I would have sat inside the house all this time and just been depressed and homesick and eventually, very fat. Eventually, she introduced me to the Harrison’s.
The Harrison’s. The first Mormon’s we have ever met – at least, that we knew were Mormon’s. Knowing what I know now, I could have met many over the years and never known it. We – well, I- had a stereotype idea in my head of what Mormon’s were. The men had two or three wives and they had many, many children. I even thought that they dressed the way they did like in Little House on the Prairie days. So, when we met them, I had a million and one questions for them. No, they don’t have multiple wives anymore. In the past – way in the past- they did, but once it was made illegal, they stopped the practice. The families average about five children. They do not drink alcohol or caffeine. They do not work or do anything that would make others have to work, on Sunday’s. Unless I have an ox in the mud. That’s a different story. They believe in the same God we do, but then they have their prophet, Joseph Smith. So basically, they are the same as everyone else. Justin’s grandmother told me once to never ask them a religious question, because they are a cult. OK – well, if you look up the definition of the word cult – well, then all religions are cults. So I don’t agree with that. they just believe some different things than we do. Believe me, I understand Latter Day Saints much more than I understand the Jewish religion. Of that, I have no clue.
Kim and Kenn have been lifesavers for me many times over. They are wonderful with the kids and many, many times when I needed a break, I knew I could send Reese over there and not worry about him a bit. We stayed here one Christmas and they had us over for Christmas Eve dinner with their extended family and we played cards until almost midnight. Our van broke down on the way home from the airport and I knew that I could call and they would come and pick me and the kids up, no questions asked. They are good people and we are very lucky to have met them. It has been fun watching their kids grow up, I am going to miss that.
The Walker’s are Justin’s best friends parents. They have raised the most polite child I have ever met. Bruce is a poster boy for the Boy Scouts. I have not met a person who does not like him. He and Justin clicked in middle school and have been great friends since. The Walker’s think a lot of Justin as well, and I think that is wonderful. We have talked a bit over the past few years here and there, but haven’t really had the chance to get to know each other until recently – figures, huh?
This town has been a great experience for us all. Small towns. I love them. Many of the people who live and work here grew up here, went away to college and came back. Some say that that seems kind of sad. I think it is wonderful that they still feel like this is home. Most people who live in small towns can’t wait to get out and never come back. Most of Reese’s teachers grew up in this area and came back to teach here after school. Miss Wiseman, Reese’s first grade teacher, is the second generation of her family here in Ridgefield and she is raising her kids here. The middle school and high school have many examples of this as well.
I am really going to miss this place and all of the friends I have made here.