Cape Cod Memories and Prayer Requests

3 days ago my family embarked on  a much anticipated vacation. A week at the Ocean Club on Smuggler's Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this week was a gifted to Tiffany, the boys, and I by my Dad. This was his place with my Mom, their special vacation spot where they made life long memories with John-Michael, Ben, and Tanner when they were much younger. Pictures of my Mother and the guys near lighthouses, stories of my oldest ordering a salad for dessert, and anecdotes about morning walks on the beach all make up the memories they shared with their grandparents through the years. For months, our family (along with Tiffany's cousin Susan, who joined us for the trip) has looked forward to making a few memories of our own. After 36 hours here, I can say that we are well underway.

 After checking in, we knew we did not want to waste our first day just staying indoors. The drive here from Fishkill, NY was only about 4 hours, so after unloading both cars we jumped in our trusty minivan. We began meandering along the side roads of the Cape, trying never to stray too far from the water. And the memories virtually made themselves.

First, we got stopped by a family of turkeys crossing the road, which raised all kinds of questions about why?  Next the GPS took us into the local landfill while trying to find Wendy's for dinner, and the older gentleman that told us how to get out spoke with such a heavy New England accent I almost called him Grandpa Newt. And when we saw a motorcycle take on a pickup truck and lose right in front of the Christmas Tree Shop that we had just came out of, we decided that Friday the 13th and Cape Cod Cruising was over and we headed back. After quick stop to watch the sunset over Bass River Beach, we headed back to the condo.

John-Michael ran down to the activity room and returned with a ragged Monopoly board and what appeared to be money, property, and pieces from 4 or 5 makeshift versions of the game. But we had enough to play and thought we would cap a pretty memorable day playing the Parker Brothers Classic. Who knew the turn the day would soon take?

As we rolled the dice and bought property, I was checking my Facebook from time to time. As I was scrolling I caught a glance of a post that stopped me in my tracks. "RIP Mrs. Richner, You were the greatest teacher I have ever had and will be sorely missed." I quickly clicked on my friend Nancy Richner's name and the reality set in.

Dozens of former students offering condolences. Friends leaving notes. My heart sank. I picked up the phone and called her ex-husband, my oldest friend Brad Stefanov. He had just found out himself. We exchanged "Oh My Gosh's" and talked for a second. He assured me he was ok, just shocked, and I let him go.

I first met Nancy Richner in 1992. She was the widow of my high school sweetheart's Uncle. We got along well and in short order, my friend Brad and I moved into her home. Within a year or two I moved out, but they began dating and eventually got married. Over the course of the last 23 or so years she has been very good to myself and my boys, especially when I went through the death of my Mom and loss of my first marriage. We watched OSU win the 2002 National Title together, she watched the boys when I had no one else to help, and offered a shoulder whenever I needed. She had no children of her own, but don't say that to Doodle, Bandit, Brennan, Buck, Woody, and the other dogs that she was Mom to over the years. She was a die hard Buckeye Fan, and a pretty amazing teacher for more than 30 years. She spent her days on this Earth with Tom, her fiance, and making peace with her Mom. And while we may not have been as close recently as we were in years pass, the impact she left on my life is undeniable. And I am grateful for that. So thank you, Nancy Richner. The world will not be the same without you.

Almost as soon as the news of Nancy's death processed in my head, I heard a blip on the news about Paris. And I do not need to recount what had happened there, or in Beirut, on the pages of this blog. CNN or Fox have all the coverage you can handle as they look for the story behind the story behind the story. I will instead only say that if you do not look at this and say this world needs prayer, you really do not understand.

As we sat, glued to the TV, we talked about what an incredible first day on the Cape it had been. From the new memories we made to the loss of a friend and the devastation of a country, we knew this Friday the 13th was one for the ages. And I knew what I was writing about tonight.

Pray for Paris. Pray for Beirut. Pray for Peace. Pray for Justice. Pray for Mercy. Pray for Understanding.   Pray for a guy on a motorcycle. Pray for Tom Hale. Pray for Brad Stefanov. Pray for anyone else who was blessed to know Nancy Merrick Richner Stefanov.

 And as always, Pray for my Little Red, as she faces major surgery the Monday after we get back.

I will do the same. And say a little prayer for you too.

On a side note, an update on my last blog, Karma, thy name is Trigger, my brother brought his son home under the order of the court 3 days ago. And while this saga is far from over, Bently is where he belongs tonight.

Maybe say a little prayer for them too.

Day # 985. I love being here with my family. We needed this. While my heart is a little heavy, it is still good to be me.


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