I was on my way to Mesa, Arizona. The flight attendant was going through her blurb. “Does anyone here not know how to open the emergency exit? If you don’t, sit by someone who does. Same way with the seatbelts. Remember, you all need to help yourself before you help your kids with the oxygen mask. The same thing goes for the peanuts. To those of you who actually use the yellow laminated cards with instructions on how to put on the life vests, please put them back before leaving.
For those of you flying economy, you get to deplane first. For those in first class, we usually land about ten minutes later.”
Thus began my trip to the annual Jones County gathering held in Mesa, Arizona. I was meeting my brother, Billy, our 2nd father, Gus, and our very special Cousin, Valerie, who were all coming from California.
Mick and Marilyn Penticoff and Chris and Belva Anderson are the main organizers of the event. Others help out and bring wonderful food. All our bunch does is show up and enjoy.
Billy and Gus picked Val and me up at the airport, and off we went.
We intended to arrive a tad late because we were hoping no one would notice we didn’t bring anything. We stopped to shop at a 99 cent store two blocks away. (We didn’t realize we were so close.) I bought some hairspray, and we headed for the gathering. After going to two wrong venues, three tries involving four GPS routes, two calls to Chris, and another swing by the 99 cent store, we finally arrived.
My brother, Billy, went to Murdo High School with Mick, Chris, Patti Dykstra Arnieri, (who taught all the guys how to dance), and Dwight McCurdy. They’re all part of a group who have remained great friends through the years. They always have a lot of fun getting together at the gatherings. Even though I’ve heard many of the stories before, they’re even better the second time around.
I also went to Murdo High School. In fact, Morris Haugland, who at the time was the Superintendent of Schools, was at the gathering. I also really enjoyed talking with his sister, Essie. Their mother, Doris, was one of Mom’s good friends.
I’m not going to start naming others because I’ll leave someone out. I will tell you who traveled the greatest distance. That would be someone whose writing talents I greatly admire. Judy Dykstra-Brown traveled all the way from Mexico. The runner-up was our group. No prizes were awarded.
We really had a great time visiting with people we don’t get to see very often. It’s so much fun catching up with old friends and listening to everyone talk about their memories.
I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures. I enjoyed talking, laughing and eating so much, I forgot to take any. Just take my word for it. Everyone looks great!
Like all fun days, we hated for it to end. The time to go came and went and came again before we finally went. I won’t even go into our trip to the hotel, but I had no idea there were so many La Quinta’s in Mesa.
After a nice breakfast this morning, Billy and Gus dropped Val and me off at the airport. I was at the wrong terminal so I had to commute by train to the right one. On the second leg from Houston to Dallas, when I got to the gate after a short layover, I realized I had lost my phone. Some nice man let me use his to call myself in case someone had found it. Then I realized my phone was still in airplane mode and it wouldn’t ring, anyway. I was directed to the TSA desk and after proving I was me, the lady handed it over. I’m so thankful it was found. I got back to the gate ten minutes before we boarded. Otherwise, other than being pulled aside by security because of the hairspray I purchased at the 99 cent store, the trip back was pretty uneventful.
I know Cousin Val made it home, but I haven’t heard from Gus and Bill who had a seven hour drive ahead of them.
On behalf of our bunch, I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful hospitality they showed us. A special thanks to Marilyn Penticoff and Belva Anderson for putting in some extra hours and providing some great food. You’re the best! Patti’s husband, Jim, was also a good sport.
What else can I say. A great time was had by all.