As I thought about our past year I went into iPhoto and selected photos that would briefly, I thought, recap our year, but when I finished they numbered 35 choices! No one would read my blog with that many pictures, so how could I reduce it down to a manageable number? As much as we love all the sights we get to see in our workamping travels, what sticks in our minds the most is the people we've met and the friends we've made in each place. I believe this posting may be mostly just for me and for Keith, a tribute to the friends God has given, though I hope my readers will enjoy it, too.The past year has had some new challenges for us, as Mr. Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer in the blood and bone marrow. We've dealt with that and the corresponding treatments for over a year now. In the photo above he was just recovering from 2 procedures to mend compression fractures in his back. A fellow Strasburg KOA co-worker had invited us to join her family for Christmas, 2011. We'll never forget the kindness we were shown.
Here are Jeff and Tracy, and one of their daughters, owners of the Denver East/Strasburg KOA where we were employed for the winter and spring. We will be forever grateful for their kindness and understanding as they worked around our crazy schedule of doctor and hospital visits. We didn't know Keith's trouble was cancer at that time, but later, as Jeff had been through a siege of cancer himself, they were great shoulders to cry on and had lots of really helpful advice. We will hold them and our time there in our hearts forever!
This is a good photo of another Tracie and her husband Geoff — the ones who invited us for Christmas, and who, before we left Strasburg, took us to a fabulous Mexican restaurant, the Casa Bonita, in Denver. They are wonderful folks, she a school bus driver and he an electrician. This photo was taken the day we pulled out of Strasburg, headed for Cheyenne.
As soon as we arrived in Cheyenne Wyoming to work at the KOA there, Keith got his official diagnosis and began receiving chemotherapy. As we'd expected he started to lose his hair in big gobs so he got a buzz cut. Still looks pretty good! We were fortunate to find excellent doctors in this cowboy town, a place we enjoyed immensely for its beauty and its western flavor. In between treatments we were able to see much of the area. We could live there!
I was disappointed to miss my 50 year high school reunion in Mossyrock Washington. Much to my delight, my childhood friend, classmate and neighbor, and her husband, came to Laramie to visit their son, and asked us to meet them there. That was truly a highlight of our summer. Thanks, Mari and George! Long-time friends are the best!
When we worked in Rapid City South Dakota at Bear Country USA the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2008 we made many friends. This is Liz, who worked in the drive-through wildlife park snack bar and with whom we had a special relationship. When she heard about Keith's illness she drove down to Cheyenne from Rapid City, a 5 hour trip, and spent the day with us. Many hugs ensued! Some wonderful friends we may never see again because of distance, but they will always be there in our most happy memories.
You never know, when you meet people, who you will "click" with. Here is Dale, a 5th wheel drivin', motorcycle ridin' railroad inspector who stayed the summer at the Cheyenne KOA. Dale would come into the office and chat with us often. We liked him so much! He was especially good to us, too, because he did some serious repairs on our 5th wheel, expertly, and at no charge. Here we are at the Coldstone Creamery pigging out!
We had the pleasure of meeting and working with John and Sue for a short time at the Denver East KOA, and to our surprise and joy they ended up coming to the Cheyenne KOA to work, a little after we got there. They are wonderful folks, extremely conscientious and good at their work, and great fun to be with. We had several dinners out with them at various local restaurants! It was with sadness we watched them pull away, heading for Florida. We hope we will cross paths (roads) with them again.
And here are the owners of the Cheyenne KOA, Dave, Mary Jo, and Jim, only missing Rhonda who was recuperating from surgery. Once again, we were treated so well and with compassion by them as we worked around Keith's chemo sessions. And here is a curious thing — Jim and Rhonda regularly donate blood plasma as a way to help those in medical need, and that's exactly where multiple myeloma begins, in the plasma. We thought that was a strange coincidence. God has been so good to us in every way, and especially by putting us in just the right jobs and with just the right people.
One final note:
Forty years ago I met my best forever friends in Vancouver Washington. Other than my husband and my children, they are God's richest blessings to me and to us. Their faithfulness and loyalty to us, and care for us, is beyond compare. Since we've come to Lost Lake RV Resort near Olympia to work we've gotten to see them frequently as they live only an hour away. Can't get enough! We were thrilled to be included in their family Thanksgiving celebration with their children and grandchildren, whom we know as well. After all, they and we are family forever!