There’s Snow Depth to Shirley’s Past or The Saga of Shirley’s 70th

16 Mar

…A combined composition by Connie and Cora

 Our old friend, Shirley Porter, was being given a 70th birthday party by her sister, Barbara, to which we invited ourselves.  The party was to be held on Sunday, March 10, 2013, in Grand Junction, CO.How hard could that be?

 The two Cs began plotting.  Flowers seemed appropriate as a gift.  Pictures are always a good idea.  Then we found out that a Shirley Roast was being planned.  Well!  How much better could it get?  This is right up our alley!

Shirley is a good friend, but the two Cs have very active lives (just as Shirley does).  Big C had a Donate Life meeting the morning of the ninth and, thus, scheduled a flight to Denver with a 5 PM arrival.  The plan was that Connie would drive from Colorado Springs to pick up Cora and the two would stay in Lakewood and then drive to Grand Junction on Sunday.  Perfect…no sweat!  We both had to be home on March 12.

Enter Mother Nature and Springtime in the Rockies.  Connie was paying attention to predictions of a large storm moving into the Colorado area over Shirley’s weekend.  Being a California chicken and not fond of driving mountain roads in the snow, she moved into a prevent-defensive mode.  She called Cora to discuss the pending storm and her plan to get over Monument Hill before the snow hit early Saturday, causing icy roads and blowing winds.

“What about coming out a day earlier?  Your plane might not even be able to land on Saturday,” Connie said.

“Tomorrow?  You mean tomorrow?  I don’t know if I can get everything done to do that,” Cora replied.  Cora investigated making a change and Southwest Airlines was very accommodating.  No additional charge.  So travel preparations moved into high gear, neighbors were notified and the cat was taken care of.

The flight was successful with the two Cs meeting up at planned.  There was enough time even to have dinner with Cora’s uncle and his wife who live in Aurora.  It was great timing as Uncle Bev had plans to leave on his father/son trip the following Sunday.  The big storm was still to hit the Denver area and people were making preparations to be sort of shut in for Saturday.

Since it was snowing a great deal on Saturday morning, we elected to stay in our hotel room to work on Shirley’s floral kayak.  Connie had brought all kinds of materials to work with and we began to

Recycling Santa Claus boot leather for the kayak

Recycling Santa Claus boot leather for the kayak

create a kayak skin around a bowl using pseudo leather, duct tape, staples and spit and polish.  Once the actual shape was put together, Connie strategically placed flowers to create a wonderful floral tribute to Shirley.  Many of Shirley’s likes were contained in this piece…skiing, kayaking,

Taking shape

Taking shape

and teaching.  Of course, there was a little dinosaur to pay homage to the fact that Shirley was now 70.  It was a work of art!

A floral kayak complete with racing stripes

A floral kayak complete with racing stripes

Once that was done, we moved from our hotel in Aurora to our originally scheduled hotel in Lakewood, a town near the foot of the Rockies and where we would take I-70 to get to Grand Junction.  That trek was done slowly but surely since it was still snowing and was very dangerous to be out on the roads with their icy, slushy conditions.  We found a delightful pie/sandwich place where we had lunch, took out food for dinner and then  hunkered down for the night.

Hawkeye's lookout on Lookout Mountain

Hawkeye’s lookout on Lookout Mountain

We woke up to a winter wonderland filled with beautiful snow and ice.  We enjoyed a great omelet provided by the hotel and then packed up for the big move to Grand Junction.  As was forecast, the sun came out and began to melt the snow off the car and roads, but we still had to be very careful of the ice.  We left about 10 AM to avoid the skiers’ rush and to allow the highways to get plowed and a little less icy.  This might have been a fortuitous move since there was a horrible accident with multiple cars at Lookout Mountain.  The eastbound lanes were complete shut down with a 25-minute delay on the westbound side.  This caused us stress in thinking that the entire journey may be filled with accidents and delays but decided that we had no control over this and to settle back and enjoy the gorgeous views.  Since Connie was driving, Cora was able to espy a deer in a majestic pose that was overlooking the freeway.  The camera wasn’t available for this critter but Cora did get a picture of a big hawk sitting in the top of a tall pine tree that was also near the freeway.  Since Cora was relatively new to pretty snow scenes, she was taking pictures of the snowy mountains and enjoying

An icy waterfall

An icy waterfall

the ride.  Connie, in the meantime, was driving very carefully and did a great job maneuvering us through some treacherous, dicey roads.

We made a pit stop at Grizzly Creek in Glenwood Canyon, which is a pretty place to stretch the legs and take care of business.  We were both happy to be there since we had both stopped there with our respective husbands many years before and had pleasant memories of this area.  Not much snow was on the ground but there were little “puff balls” of snow sitting

Two chicks at Grizzly Creek

Two chicks at Grizzly Creek

on tree and bush limbs.  They reminded me of cotton bolls.  The snow puffs on the red bud were particularly pretty in our estimation.  We took some fun pictures and eventually pressed on to our destination.  Shirley was awaiting our arrival!

Snow globs on the red bud

Snow globs on the red bud

The drive over the Continental Divide is so interesting with the many changes in altitude, climate and terrain.  On this day, we went from very snowy conditions to relatively dry and from low to high to low again, all in the span of 5 hours.  We always think about the pioneers who had to traverse these wild lands in their covered wagons and are always glad that we aren’t suffering their same hardships.

Grand Junction greeted us with perfect weather and we found Shirley’s house with no trouble.  Shirley greeted us with hugs and before long, we three amigas were sitting at the table chatting as if no time had passed since we’d seen each other.  IT WAS JUST GREAT!!!!

THE PAR-TAY

Shirley and Barbara

Shirley and Barbara

The BIG event was held at Wayne Kennedy’s lovely huge home.  He and Barbara met us at the door and offered us wine and other spirits.  It was

Wayne in his railroad set up

Wayne in his railroad set up

most important that we sample and approve the goods since people had gone out of their way to make a special wine run of the local fare just for us!  We are so difficult to please!

We were introduced to many of Shirley’s friends as we toured the enormous house.  In the basement, Wayne had a large miniature train collection set up, covering a 20 X 15 foot area.  He eagerly showed it off running several trains in opposite directions and throwing switches to avoid disasters, much to our delight.  We had a great time getting acquainted with Shirley’s friends and relatives.  They were all such fun and, obviously, loved Shirley very much.  Cora thought she’d get the long distance prize but, Shirley’s nephew, Steven, won the prize coming from Alaska.  He’s a really nice guy and fun to talk to.

Steven's arms are tired after his long flight from Anchorage

Steven’s arms are tired after his long flight from Anchorage

Cora on Donate Life

Cora on Donate Life

A sit down dinner for 17, a catered affair, was quite delicious. As we gathered around the table, Cora was the center of attention and she held her audience in rapt attention, regaling the group with stories and information about Donate Life.  A great chance for her work as an ambassador.

After dinner and Shirley blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, gifts were presented and then the roast began!  Everyone shared funny and

Blow, Shirley, Blow!

Blow, Shirley, Blow!

touching remembrances of Shirley with Barbara starting the fun.  It’s so nice that people can share these stories BEFORE they are held at someone’s memorial service!  We were pleased with our part in the roast offering insights into Shirley’s past in California through humor, photographs, flowers and song. She took it all in stride and seemed pleased with our Kayak arrangement and even the bouquet of dead flowers, sprayed black in her honor.

Shirley admiring her black bouquet

Shirley admiring her black bouquet

Connie is amazed to find that the blue tab is a unique type of snow screen

Connie is amazed to find that the blue tab is a unique type of snow screen

Here, Shirley is trying on some new glasses that fit over her regular glasses.  Connie is amazed to find out that the blue tab is a unique type of snow screen.

Connie related some of the classic RFs we pulled on Shirley when we three were at Fremont Junior High as well as our friendship throughout the

Direct us, Connie!

Direct us, Connie!

years.  Some good puns were delivered by Connie, too.  Gullible’s Travel’s was just one.  She also commented that Shirley was so hip that she received three hip replacements!  Cora is wondering if she is directing the crowd in song or exhorting Shirley to begin RFing GJ friends in this picture.→

Cora also got into the act with some surfing, hiking and teaching stories.  She also shared some Shirley pictures from years past.  As was stated above, Shirley surely was a good sport about all this.

It was a delightful experience to help Shirley usher in another decade and celebrate her person, for Shirley is truly one of a kind, a loyal friend but one who tells it as it is.

The Tres Amigas are a force to be reckoned with

The Tres Amigas are a force to be reckoned with

We are truly blessed to have Shirley in our lives and to help make us what we are today.

The three of us spent the next morning together gabbing and also discussing Shirley’s pending trip to the Czech Republic in May.  She’s going on a small group tour that will be a circle tour of the country, seeing many sights that large tours might not get to see.  She’s also hoping to learn more about her Bohemian roots in that part of the world.  What an exciting trip!  Have fun, Shirley!

Checking Czech notes

Checking Czech notes

All too soon, Connie and Cora had to head back over the Continental Divide to the Denver area.  The weather was improving and we had heard the weather would be good all the way.  Again, it’s springtime in the Rockies.  We ran into snow near Vale and it continued all the way to Lakewood where we were staying for the night.

About midnight, Cora heard a high-pitched, incessant noise in the hall.  She finally got so irritated that she poked her head out the door to give the devil to whomever was making the noise.  Much to her surprise, there was no kid, but rather a fireman who said, “The building’s on fire.  You might want to leave.”  He was so calm about his statement that Cora was not terribly alarmed (plus she didn’t see any flames or much smoke).  She got Connie up and, together, they dressed, packed up and took their belongings out to the car to await the fate of the hotel.  Come to find out, someone had run through the hall with a fire extinguisher turned on, creating an irritating, smoky atmosphere.  There never was a fire, but

Our friend, Dick Schmidt, said this is the real reason for the alarm

Our friend, Dick Schmidt, said this is the real reason for the alarm

someone reported it as such and four fire engines and a couple of EMT trucks arrived on the scene.  Eventually, we were allowed back into the building but were hyped up that we couldn’t go back to sleep for a while.  Never a dull moment, it seems.

That afternoon, Cora was winging her way back to LAX and Connie was driving back to Colorado Springs to prepare for her hula lesson, which she missed because she forgot about the time change and that her clocks hadn’t been reset.  Oops.

Thank you all for a fantastic weekend that will be in our collective memories forever.

 

3 Responses to “There’s Snow Depth to Shirley’s Past or The Saga of Shirley’s 70th”

  1. Dick March 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Wow, the beauty of Buzardnotes just keeps getting better. And now, for the first time, a Special Edition with dual authors! What a great account you have posted of Girls Gone Wild in Colorado. Thank you for the adventure travelog, Shirley’s Party in Grand Junction and the numerous photos. And, looking far ahead to December, Cora, you have a stunning Christmas card image in hand with your “An Icy Waterfall” photo!

  2. Connie Raub March 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Well done, Cora! You really captured our activities. What fun we had! Nice that you included Dick’s explanation of the hotel fire. I’m so glad you were able to get that shot of one of the frozen waterfalls. They were too cool! I’m sending this on to my relatives so they know what I am doing. They thank you, I’m sure.

  3. Barbara Allen March 17, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Cora, you are a riot!! These notes are major entertainment!!!! You are such a great writer…….and all that talent wasted in PE…..my, oh, my!!!!!! I laughed all the way through this and it was more interesting than a novel!!! And you and Connie and Shirley…..none of you look any different than you did in the 80’s…….you are amazing!

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