Thursday, July 7, 2011

On The Rocks

I was very lucky to grow up with lots of first cousins. Two of the ones I was closest to were Melissa and Cathe. Melissa is my age and Cathe is a year younger. I would ride my bike to Melissa's and play on her jungle gym and borrow her Nancy Drew books (she had them ALL). And I would ride over to Cathe's with the Sears, Penney, and Montgomery Ward catalogs in my bike basket and we'd cut out paper dolls all afternoon. Great memories. It's been a long, long time since we'd gotten a chance to spend time together until a few years ago when, thanks to modern technology such as e-mail, Face Book, etc. -- we reconnected. In a somewhat strange coincidence they both live in Rockford, Illinois, now. In 2009 they got on a plane and came down here for a visit. We had a wonderful reunion and it was decided that it was then my turn to visit Rockford to see them next. The plans to do that last year fell apart, but when we were going to Illinois again this year, the Rockford visit was a MUST!

So on Wednesday morning we bid adieu to the fine folks in Sheridan and headed up route 39. We went first to Cathe's house. Melissa and her husband, Duane, came over for lunch. We sat in Cathe and Rum's newly finished sun room and enjoyed lunch, beautiful weather and a great visit. After lunch we went to Anderson Gardens. It's a gorgeous Japanese garden and, again, with all the rain they've had it was lush and beautiful. Later on, Cathe's kids and grand kids, as well as her sister, Jean, and her brother-in-law came over for dinner. (We're all about the eating.) It was so nice to get a chance to see her 4 darling grand kids in person instead of just in the cute pictures she shares. After everyone left, Cathe and I looked at photo albums and scrapbooks and I taught her how to play Monopoly Deal.

Thursday morning, the girls took me to a store called Gordman's. I'd never heard of it till Shirley was singing it's praises. Ken had a neat bug zapper fly swatter that they got there and I thought Jerry needed to have one. Plus...I heard it was just a really neat store. It is. The guys went out and hit some golf balls and then we all met for lunch (eating again) at BeefaRoo...a local favorite where they have -- tenderloins! :) Then Jerry went home with Duane and the girls took me to a really nice quilt shop in a big, old house. Lots of inspiration! Then we swung by and picked Jerry up and Melissa took us on a driving tour of Rockford. It's a very nice city with a lot to offer. I can see why the Wisconsin senators chose that as a "hiding" place while they were avoiding doing their jobs a couple of months ago.

On Thursday night it was Melissa's turn to show off her two adorable grand daughters...Amelia and Sofi. It's so nice to put voices and personalities with these cute kids that I hear stories about and just see pictures of. We had a very good dinner out on the screened-in porch on a picture perfect evening enjoying the view of their back yard. After everyone else called it a night, Melissa and I looked at a cookbook and I taught her how to play Monopoly Deal.

Before leaving town on Friday morning, we all went to breakfast at a Rockford institution...The Stockholm Inn. The (large) place is really neat and the food was wonderful. They like to go for the Sweedish pancakes with linginberries but everything that everyone had was really good. They've recently remodeled the bathrooms and the ladies' room was so cute we took pictures! Rockford is home to the original sock monkey and the Stockholm Inn proudly displays a large array of monkeys.

So after a couple of days of eating, visiting, sharing, eating, laughing and...did I mention eating?...we had to head on to the next stop. So glad Rockford was on my "bucket list".

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