Colorado Springs - June, 2018

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After arriving in Colorado Springs on a Thursday evening, I drove to my sister Doris and husband Paul's for dinner, then checked in late at a brand new Best Western at Fillmore & I-25, which has only been open for 14 days.  It was good seeing the latest bathroom floors and shower materials, and the latest in fire detection and elevator equipment.  I could also count 14 separate peaks that could be seen from my west-facing room on the top floor. 

On Friday morning I met my sister Mary at her house & we drove to Palmer Park for a mile or two walk with her two dogs.  Mackenzie is Mary's dog while Cody is her son Sam's dog, who's been enjoying temporary residence at Mary's for a year.  Cody will accompany Jessica on the drive to South Carolina, post-wedding. 

Oops, almost forgot to say that I and my relatives from all over were here to attend the wedding of Mary's older son Sam and his Bride Jessica.

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

Palmer Park trail Mackenzie and Cody Yucca, a little past prime blooming lapping up last night's rain puddles  
  Mary, an avid walker hoodoo Cody good scenery in this town !
the inspiration for bonsai Pike's Peak & Garden of the Gods   downtown & Cheyenne Mountain  

Afterwards, we had coffee at Mary's & talked until noon, but, she and Roger had to prepare for a large feast that night, hosting the entire wedding party as well as us family members.  Roger said his new & improved barbequed ribs process takes at least four hours.  (more on this below) 

Having time to explore the town, which I'm pretty familiar with, I drove to Evergreen Cemetery, but couldn't find my Mom's grave site, but Doris would show me later where it is.  Instead I dropped by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, always a good place to wander around & explore.  

winds sets it in motion   underneath artist's background  
  by Chihuly  
Chihuly uses other mediums          

On Friday evening there was a great dinner with the wedding party (post-rehearsal) at Mary & Roger's.  Roger's barbecue was more than fabulous, demonstrating skills recently acquired during an intensive course - 12 hours a day for three days - from a master BBQ chef in New Orleans.   

The gag gift from Paul (photo in third row below) following a Toast by Alex to the wedding couple, is a reference to my Nephew Sam and Jessica's current living situation in Sumter, South Carolina.  Sam is stationed at nearby Shaw Air Force base.  Sam's been in for one year, was on short leave, having to return on Monday.  Yes, there are a lot of flying bugs down there.   

Sam the Groom's men nice nails Ryan's girls  Autumn & Stella 
  Mary and Crystal Don talking with Crystal another Crystal with Alex Jessica's family
Alex proposing a Toast J's fam Paul's intro to the gift deep south survival tool   
  Tina, Doris, Don Crystal & Paul very smooth Irish whiskey Theresa & Dave
Dave brought his gold medal winner from Las Cruces (*) Roger & Mary Don and Tina  are from L.C.      
  Tina w/Don, a bit out of  focus Roger trying to get a gas valve working        

(*) - Dave's Imperial Smoked Lager won gold in an international micro-brew competition in L.A. in this category, maybe 2 years ago, with Sam Adams Brewery taking silver.  Dave's got legit bragging rights and I admire his skills.   

Here's a quick intro to the family members I saw this weekend, some arriving later than others:

My siblings in order are Don, Doris, me in the middle, then Mary & Theresa. 

Mary and Roger's sons are Sam and Alex.  Sam is the man..... all of us were there to attend my nephew Sam's and Jessica's Saturday evening wedding. 

Doris & Paul, and, Mary & Roger, live in Colorado Springs, while Don & Tina, and, Theresa & Dave live in Las Cruces, NM.

Of my sister Theresa's three children, only Ryan was here, with adorable family, including wife Athena and their girls Autumn and Stella, who hail from Scottsdale, AZ.  (Rachel & Kristiana are mentioned below)  

My brother Don had eight kids from two marriages and his first wife Laurie was in attendance for the wedding and afterwards.  Their offspring attending were brothers Pat and Chris from Austin, TX., and Tom, who lives in the Springs, Crystal being his girlfriend.  Also, their sister Mary was in from Marseille, France where she lives & works.   

Chris and his wife Kristen had son Carson along.  Pat and Chris are professional musicians and perform regularly in Austin & they have good day jobs, too.  

Their other sister, Anne, nearly made it, but didn't.  Pat, Chris, Tom, Mary & Anne had just taken their Mom Laurie for a two-day celebration of her birthday in Santa Fe, NM, so that's why these family members did not appear until the wedding. Anne had to get home to her IT job in Bristol, England.  That covers  Don's clan except that his son Joseph from Alamogordo did not come.  

Don's wife Tina was present but their two boys weren' can see Josh and Luke on the recent New Mexico page, where Josh married Madalyn.  You can also see Theresa's two daughters Rachel & Kristiana, on the same page.      

Wedding at Hillside Gardens, Colorado Springs, Saturday at 5 pm

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

Crystal did Mary's makeup nice mountain view Laurie, Roger, and Mary bright & hot at 5 pm  
  Sam and his Mom the gathering
  best man Alex and Jessica's Mom Jameson Jessica and her Father
  the ceremony begins more views of the view getting serious Groom's men
Bride's maids Sam wrote his own vows so did Jessica    
  you may kiss the bride ! ..after the kiss        

The Reception at Hillside Gardens 

happy parents Tom, Crystal, Mary the open bar Don and Pat  
  Carson, Chris, Roger Roger   Tom and Jameson
Alex with Ryan and Stella   a happy girl Theresa's grand daughter safe with Mom  
  Autumn posing Athena & Theresa the reception's over there    
we all signed the state flag Roger made Pat and Paul we were here until 10 pm      

On Sunday morning, most of the wedding party & families enjoyed Brunch at Hotel Elegante'.  I had a chance to talk with Laurie and her daughter Mary, both very interesting people.  Mary is a researcher, studying brain electro-chemistry and the use of neuro transmitters to study the root causes of epileptic seizures, and, in two days she will present on that subject at a bio-medical conference in Miami. 

Laurie, her Mom, though retired, continues to teach math online for NMSU, and, she also is a paid referee for high school volleyball games.   

Evergreen cemetery, where my Mom is buried, was only a few minutes away from the brunch place, so Doris & Paul and Don & Tina and I stopped in. As the memorial stone states, my Mom was a Yeoman 2nd Class, in the US Navy Waves; this was during WWII, when she lived & worked in D.C.  She told us that her walking route to work and back each day went right past the White House.

my Mom's plot at Evergreen Cemetery  

Doris and I recalled that Mom had traded her cemetery plot, about 18 months before she died, because the Evergreen office said they had one with a better view of Pikes Peak.  Well, the 'better view' must be only for half the year, in winter, when the trees are bare, because I couldn't see Pikes Peak at all. They should have given her a 50% discount, but with my Mom's sense of humor, this was too good to pass up....'a cemetery plot with a better view'.        

On Sunday evening most of us siblings and children and grandchildren were back at Mary and Roger's, for a pizza dinner.  Jessica was the only member of her family present.  The attendees enjoyed hearing Pat, Chris, and Tom on acoustic guitar, all good vocalists, too. 

The music went on for some time while the rest of us chatted and sipped wine or beer or other beverages. We were all pretty well-behaved and had a nice farewell evening together.    

the musicians   Roger Pat & Chris  
  Doris Chris Patrick Crystal & Alex
Pat and Tom   Thomas Chris and Mary  
  Sunday night in the Springs   Roger and Jameson, see note  
Jameson having fun   applause at the end      

note - my sister Mary said that Tom's son Jameson is crazy about Uncle Roger and his can-fix-anything skill-set.  In these images, Jameson expresses interest in the hot tub dials, and Roger is kind enough to turn it on for him.  Laurie pointed this out to me, that Jameson was going ballistic, toying with or re-directing the hot tub jets. 

I was glad to learn that Tom visits Mary and Roger and also to learn about his Civil Engineering career and got the gist.  Because of so many fires back here, a combined city consortium is paying for hydraulic studies looking for solutions to flooding problems impacting urban or rural properties. 

What a great weekend and I enjoyed seeing so many nephews and nieces who I haven't seen for a long time, as well as family I have seen more often.  But in 2016 when he had our first real reunion for a long time, we agreed to try it again in 2018, thus, the weddings of nephews in May and June made it possible. 

On Monday I had two early morning flights home with window seats, enjoying the scenery a lot.    

hwy. 50 near Monarch Pass near Parachute, Utah Wasatch Range, Utah  
  the big turn north at Provo descent to SLC    
approaching Sacramento from the north flooded rice fields descent to SMF  

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