April 5, 2015 - Easter|
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What a great Easter Day celebration we enjoyed!
Pete and Barbara Skrownski invited us to their home to join with their large family and share Easter Day together – beginning with Brunch then Games/Visiting/and Easter Dinner!!!
A little history: Barbara and Pete have three amazing daughters – Julie, Susan and Sara. Our daughter, Michelle and Susan were close friends when they were teenagers, and we always felt happy to have all three girls visit our family. Michelle, in particular was very fond of Susan. After Susan and Marvin married, we were always happy to run into Susan (and sometimes Marvin) when Susan worked at one or other flea markets/shows, etc. In those days Susan made some fabulous tie-dyed clothes, especially for children. Her baby, Novak was the best-dressed baby around! What a talent Susan hadstill has - and her work was appreciated by anyone who saw the clothes!
After Michelle married Slade and moved to Chicago, she gave birth to Cody. Susan had Novak, Michelle very much wanted to see Susan, Marvin and Novak. Somehow Paul, me, Michelle and Cody, and we think Christina, drove to see the Kramers who were living in the Oakhurst, CA area. We drove on the most god-awful road I had ever been on, and besides the fact that it was all “dirt” it was up into the mountains (my recollection) and SCARY! We had a delightful visit with Susan and even drove down to Oakhurst to see the town and enjoy a nice meal in the restaurant there. We had a memorable visit with Susan and Novak, but we vowed not to traverse that dirt road to get back up to the Kramer home. (Thank God we had taken two cars!)
So it’s been a lot of years since Paul and I have seen Susan. Pete and Barbara left the Bay Area some years ago too, and eventually purchased property large enough for Pete and Barbara to have their own home, with Susan, Marvin and their children in their home close on the property.) The arrangement seems to have worked out very well for all of them. Once a month Sara and Julie and Rudi drive down from the Bay Area to visit.
As the years have gone by, Susan and Marvin have become the proud parents of Clancy and Elseana – rounding out their family to 3 wonder-filled children.
We had not seen these young people for a long time, so it was a very special joy to us to have time to “meet” Rudi (Julie’s son) who was not quite a toddler when last we saw him …. And we had yet to meet Susan and Marvin’s Clancy and Elseana for the first time! Novak was younger than Rudi when we last saw him, and Jeremie (Marvin’s son) was a relative we had never met. Jeremie and his wife Vickie have very recently made Susan and Marvin “grandparents” and Barbara and Pete are great-grandparents!
The baby (Magnus) is absolutely adorable and is loved and cherished by everyone. Marvin, in particular is happy to see the kids get down here (from Yosemite) so that he can visit with Magnus!
When we arrived on Easter Sunday morning, Marvin and Barbara were busy in the kitchen. Marvin with his Eggs Benedict creation,
And Barbara with her scones, scrambled eggs and bacon – as my dad would say, “A meal fit for a king!”
Sara was busy cutting strawberries – more delicious and beautiful berries than I’ve seen in awhile!
While these folks were busy with food preparation, we enjoyed looking at, playing with, and appreciating all the Easter decorations Barbara has collected over the years. This chicken, in particular actually lays eggs!
There were many other chickens, rabbits and assorted Easter-themed stuffed animals to enjoy!
Time for Brunch, and what a beautiful table! Pete and Rudi make sure everything is ready! We enjoyed the eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, delicious fresh fruit, and companionship! We felt a real urge to go for seconds, but reminded ourselves that there was yet a delicious dinner planned, so we reluctantly kept ourselves restrained. Everything was so tasty!
The yard around the house shows lots of TLC, and one is greeted upon arrival with this charming frog couple, under an umbrella enjoying these lovely tulips!
The frog couple was just one of many amusing and creative figures all over the yard. Encompassing the house are plants and flowers that create a wonderland of color. The rear “yard” of the house gives ample proof of the variety of blossoms. Note the many containers of flowers.
The giant irises that are in bloom are amazing! We’ve never seen such large blossoms, and the color from white to deep red is awesome!
The new mother, Vicki, was so generous in sharing her masterpiece, Magnus.
And although everyone wanted to hold this newest member of the family, Marvin took his position of “Grandfather” and held the baby as much as his cooking duties allowed!
I had a particular piece of good fortune in accompanying Rudi to the trash to make our contribution, when Rudi gallantly offered to show me some of the grounds. He led me past the “pond” where the kids once swam and boated …. Now only a dry “hole” – we walked to an area that’s been set-aside as a last resting place for the ashes of deceased family members. The scene put me in mind of the places, up at Slade and Michelle’s summer house, where GramGram and Nannie have found a final home on earth. What a special privilege to visit this spot, too.
During some of the afternoon we played the board game “Apples to Apples” and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Pete and Paul were the high scorers!
By late afternoon the “workers” arrived. Novak and his girl friend, Clancy, Elseana and her friend Veronica, had spent the day at the Wawona Hotel where they are all servers. They agreed, it had been a long and busy day and they were happy to relax and enjoy Easter Dinner with the family. On Saturday, Marvin baked the cake, and that evening, Susan decorated it and voila! A “lamb cake!”
Marvin and Barbara knew just what needed to be done, and worked so well together! 0023 Pete and Barbara designed and were responsible for the looks of the kitchen. I was completely enamored with this piece of equipment; “a cooking sink” --- I’ve never seen anything like it, and am unashamed to say so, and I think that a “cooking sink” is one of the greatest additions to any kitchen!
The Easter table was decorated with new place mats Barbara had made and which, Saturday night, the girls helped by sewing the hems around each tablemat. The completed table was so inviting, with the beautiful tulips in the center and each diner had a favor of Easter candy!
Barbara called the diners to where the food awaited. Jeremie, Clancy, Susan, Barbara, Sara, and the others were ready to fill their plates with succulent lamb, delicious ham, perfectly cooked asparagus, gremalata, and potatoes with brocolli and asparagus... to die for!
What a delicious meal (also included was a dish of sauerkraut and spicy sausage!)
Between the good fellowship and the incredible food, we all seemed able to add just a little of Sara’s beautifully cut and presented strawberries, the lamb cake and ice cream. What more could a person want?
We did some dishes (aren’t dishwashers wonderful when one has a large number for dinner?) then visited some more.
The wood used in the construction of the fence that borders the upstairs loft particularly intrigued us. There were trees that Barbara loved. She took pictures of the trees, then made stencils of those trees, drew them on the piece of wood, cut out the design, and all across the loft one can appreciate the trees Barbara and Pete have come to know and admire. Now they can see them every day!
Anyone who knows Barbara is aware of her love for and the making of quits. Many of her quilts hang all over their house, but this one is especially eye catching and outstanding.
And what a way to end Easter Sunday, 2015! We will long remember and cherish this day! Our thanks to Barbara and Pete, Julie and Rudi, Sara, Susan, Marvin, Novak, Clancy and Elesana, Jeremie, Vicki and Magnus for making this a “family day” for us, too!
Monday April 6 – We drove to Fresno to see if we could find a heater. Our Aqua Hot element (serviced last August) gave up the ghost again, and Paul figures the $ spent on electricity for a heater(s) would balance out the cost of repairing the Aqua Hot – and a heater or two would be easier on pocket and nerves. So we found just what the “doctor” ordered – two small, but efficient Ceramic Heaters. When we had the Lazydaze, many owners had these heaters – how could we go wrong? So we brought them home, plugged them in and in no time were snug as 2 bugs in a rug.
We drove on to “downtown” Coarsegold to see if our mail had been received. It had not, so we headed back to Park Sierra. Each time we go north from the park we notice a road that points to a place called “Raymond.” We decided to take the turn off and find “Raymond.” Although it is only 15 miles from highway 41, it seemed ever so far away. But we are glad to say that we preserved and did indeed, reach “Raymond.”
Raymond, California looks as it has for over 100 years. Not as many buildings stand, due to many fires over time. The main road through town is paved but one can still get food in the 1890 General Store (we enjoyed an ice cream bar from there) or one can cross the road and have a beverage in the 1891 Shaw Brother's General Merchandise store, now a bar called the Frontier.
Raymond is one of the few towns in the Sierra Nevada established strictly for tourism and not built because of the gold rush!
Folks can take the same route President Theodore Roosevelt took with John Muir when they came to Raymond from San Francisco and visited Yosemite National Park. That visit convinced Roosevelt that Yosemite National Park had to be preserved forever. That’s one thing on our bucket list .. To drive over to Yosemite on that route! The Dogwood Trees are in bloom in the valley… I hope we can get there before they die.
On Tuesday after Easter this area was blessed with rain (down where we are, and as far east as Fresno, we believe.) The best news is that there’s some SNOW up in the mountains…. Won’t be enough, we know, but anything by way of moisture is welcome!
We’ll be back in the Bay Area for a short while and when we return we hope to make that trip to Yosemite!