Monday, March 15, 2010

Memories—In the beginning . .

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We were at a big, new lodge in the mountains holding a scrapbook retreat when I first met Ray. He had come to pick up Cali and take her to dinner. The lodge was swarming with busy, creative ladies. Alyson, who is about Cali’s age, had been outside when Ray pulled up in his car. She came into the lodge breathless and laughing exclaiming, “There’s a MAN out there!” She said it with the same enthusiasm and inflection that Jethro’s daughters used in The Ten Commandments when they found Moses lying in the desert.

Alyson’s declaration reverberated throughout the lodge and Cali, who was hoping to leave discreetly, left to a chorus of well-wishers in the lobby. Ray, the only male on the premises besides the owner’s dog, was so professional with us all—he shook our hands, looked us in the eye, and asked us about ourselves before Cali steered him out the door. After they left, my niece Jenny observed that Ray must be trustworthy because, “I see Cali left her cell-phone on her bed.”

The lights seldom go out at our scrapbook retreats. Scrappers like Darla and Debbie can create until 3 or 4 am and more than once we have passed in the night—them going to bed while Susan and I were getting up to work. There was no way, no how Cali was going to quietly sneak back into the scrapbooking routine. As I recall, Heather won the award for the most pervasive questioning about Ray. And that was my first memory of him.

At the next year’s scrapbooking retreat, Ray again came to pick up Cali for dinner. This time he joined us in the scrapbooking room, sat in front of the fireplace, looked at scrapbooks, and visited. When Cali and Ray got married a few months later, several scrapbookers drove long miles to attend their reception. He was one of us you see.

Today is one of Ray's birthdays. My memories of him make me smile, laugh, and my eyes mist—in short, they warm me through and through. I'm so glad there are many more ahead.

11 comments:

Lucy said...

A fabulous birthday post. You capture so much humanness about those you love, Jane.

Deanna/Mimi said...

My sentiments are the same as Lucy's. After I read your post I thought, Jane is a woman who loves totally and completely...her family is so very blessed to be loved by her. You have many Christ-like qualities that exude in your postings. That is why it is such a joy to read your words. They are uplifting and inspiring.

Marie said...

What a wonderful way to feel about the man your daughter chose.

(I loved, "There is a MAN out there!)

Donna Chapin said...

Oh, I think you have the best memory and glad that you shared it. I didn't know the part about Alyson saying there was a "man out there". I want it to be known on the record that I didn't pry or say anything that 1st meeting of Ray.
Please pass onto Ray "Happy Birthday" from me.

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

Happy Birthday, Ray! I'm ever so glad that you passed your first round of questioning with flying colors - I bet Cali is, too :) I hope you are blessed beyond what you could ask or even imagine today.

Darla said...

I sooo remember that day.. After putting up with the line of women and questioning.. I knew he was a good man but when he showed up the second time & was sitting looking at the scrapbooks so contenetly, sitting on that couch it just reinerated he was a real keeper...

Ray, Happy Birthday.. I hope you have a wonderful day!!

michelle said...

I just want to say a big DITTO to Marie's comment! Those who marry into your family are lucky indeed. I hope I can love the people my children choose as completely.

Ande Payne said...

Happy Birthday Ray! My first thoughts of him were "Whoa. He's big."

melanie said...

Ande always cracks me up. Love her. And I love this wonderful post you wrote about Ray. Both parties are blessed for sure!

Cali said...

Ande, those were my thoughts exactly the first time I saw him... well except I didn't think "BIG," I thought "TALL." I am SO grateful for this man. He is perfect for me. Thank you for posting this mom.

I love you.

Grace said...

Ray is awesome! It makes me smile thinking about him going to the retreats with all the women there. I am looking forward to seeing him there this year too!

Hope you had a great birthday, Ray!