Day 350, Year 9: Oh . . . the Having of Wonderful Family and Friends
Date: Monday, October 6, 2014
Weather: Another Sunny Day, High in the 60’s F
Location: Back Home on Windbird in Quissett Harbor, Falmouth, MA

Note: If you tried to access our website this morning, you got a big, fat RED warning from Google. There was problem, but it has been resolved thanks to the diligence of our son Justin working with Handleysail’s webhost. You can once again feel safe about accessing the site.

Admittedly, the days since we got the bad news about Mark’s cancer have been the toughest of my life. But our little two day jaunt north to New Hampshire was just what the doctor ordered. We have always gone along with the words from Kenneth Grahame’s book, The Wind in the Willows. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” We obviously believe that. But right now I would like to change that a bit to say, “There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth having as wonderful family and friends.” So many of you have sent such supportive emails and visiting with family and friends yesterday and today just reinforced the love being sent our way.

Last night’s log was very short with no details as it was after midnight and I was just too tired to write anything that could possibly describe the day’s events. So I shall give it a go here. Our trip to the apple orchard with Heather, Jed, and boys was short but it was joy to see those little blonde heads bobbing about in the apple trees and those little hands picking apples to fill the bags. We left them and drove two hours to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to have lunch with my niece Candi, her husband Char, their six year-old granddaughter Grace, and my other Massachusetts niece, Lynn. They drove from Massachusetts over to Portsmouth to have lunch with us so we would then be close to our next ‘appointments’ with Portsmouth friends. Each year Char rides in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike-a-thon that raises more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the world. And this year Char dedicated his more than 150 mile ride to Mark and his battle with cancer. Char sent Mark his letter of dedication and a Pan-Mass Challenge t-shirt and this was first time we have seen him since then and Mark’s first chance to thank him in person. And I second that. Char, thank you, thank you, thank you . . . and keep riding. We met at Warren’s Lobster House and had a great lunch. Grace, the granddaughter, was absolutely amazing. She sat through an hour and a half of adults talking and talking, and she really never complained once, which gave all of us a chance to visit and catch up on family happenings. After the late lunch at Warren’s, Mark and I drove to see our friends Rich and Leslie Kole. They got home from a two-week river trip in Europe late on Saturday afternoon, so we really appreciated that they were willing to have us visit less than 24 hours after their return. We loved hearing all about their trip along the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest, but more importantly we just enjoyed being together. From there we drove over to Tom and Detta Porat’s. We stayed in their home for a week just after Mark’s surgery in early June and we haven’t seen them since. So again, it was just wonderful to have the time to sit and talk. Tom and Detta are incredibly gracious and we always enjoy their over-the-top hospitality. While we were there last night, their college-aged son, Matthew, called to talk with us. I was Matthew’s first grade teacher, so we have a bit of a special bond. But last night he was really focused on Mark. It was so special that he called to talk to Mark and to tell him how much he respects his positive attitude in dealing with a not very positive health scenario. Matthew is going through a selection process to become a Rhodes Scholar, so we wish him the very best. But whether or not he becomes a Rhodes Scholar, Matt will be a success in life because he truly cares for people. Good luck, Matthew.

Detta and Tom headed to work early, early this morning, so we said our farewells last night. This morning, we had a leisurely morning looking out over the Great Bay while making phone calls to take care of various issues. We were waiting to hear from Mark’s oncologist to see if he was scheduled for a chemo treatment today, but once we knew that was not going to happen until Wednesday, we decided to make an impromptu side-trip to Concord, New Hampshire to have lunch with friends Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg. And since we were going to drive there, we also decided to pay the big bucks to get the documents from our Safe Deposit Box in Concord. We lost the keys to the box during our little trek around the world and had just never decided to pay the money to recover the documents. But since our birth certificates were part of the package, it was time to do it. We arranged to have lunch with Alan and Helaine in the building where New Hampshire Public Radio is now located. This allowed Mark to visit with his friends at the station as well as with Alan and Helaine. And during lunch with Alan and Helaine, we conjured up all sorts of tentative plans to meet up in Ft. Lauderdale this winter.

We left Windbird at 9 am yesterday and returned here 36 hours later feeling good about life. The having of wonderful family and friends is not something that can be described with mere words. All we can do is express the love we have for all of you. Thank you so much for being there for us.

141006 Day 350 Cape Cod, USA–Visit to Concord, NH
Day 351, Year 9: Preparing (or not) for the Trip South
Day 349, Year 9: Apple Orchard, Family & Friends