Last month I got a call from Tad asking me "guess who just called me?"...my answer of I don't know brought the reply "Mike Macdowell". Boy did that bring a rush of good and sad memories. Mike and Pennie were our next door neighbors at 26- for almost eight years. During that time, Pennie's kids, Holly and Aaron became Jenna and Tad's best friends as they were all just about the same age. The kids were always together at Mike & Pennie's or our house or playing in the neighborhood. Times changed, we sold our house and moved into the BMS building where Don wanted to start a plumbing retail store to go along with his plumbing repair business. A hard move for all of us, giving up our big house to move into the upstairs of the store. The kids managed but it wasn't the same. In a short time Don would be dead and our lives forever changed. Mike and Pennie divorced and Mike moved to the Valley and then to Oklahoma. He has since remarried and has a three year old daughter, Maddie. Mike came to dinner while Jenna and Weston were up so he got to see all three kids and all four grandkids. He said in a way they felt like his grandkids. It didn't matter what was going on, if they were going somewhere or we were going somewhere or doing something, we always had all of the kids and that was so cool. Tad said if he needed his butt kicked, Mike would do it just like he would for Aaron. All of the kids knew they were loved. Mike was a good neighbor and is a good man and it was good to see him. Mike has always kept in touch with Tad and I keep in touch with Pennie and both Tad and I keep in touch with Aaron. Lots of good times and some really hard, sad times for all of us.
Saturday I got an email from Val Allred, Don's cousin. He was in the valley and heading back home to Colorado and decided to come through Springerville and wanted to know if it would be possible to get together. I emailed him back and the phone rang immediately, Val confirming he would be here on Sunday. Val was a couple of years older than Don but they were close and cared a great deal for each other. I called Tad and told him about the email and call and he made arrangements for Val at a local RV park for Sunday and Monday night. On Sunday afternoon Val and Nancy came when they got into town to visit and to see Ed. Val and Ed went to school together in Safford and lived in the same neighborhood. A small world! Val and Ed visited about old times and old friends. Ed left and went back to Buchhorn and we set a date to meet again on Monday to visit again. Val and Nancy wanted to see Velda and Wade on this visit too and drive around before heading to Santa Fe on Tuesday.
We went to dinner on Monday night and it was good to just visit with Val. A retired Glendale firefighter/paramedic who was cross-trained as S.W.A.T. he had many interesting and funny stories. Val has the Allred sense of humor and it was just good to be around he and Nancy. Val and Tad traded hunting and fishing stories, ending with the story of Val's Grandpa and Tad's Great Grandpa Milt Allred's 30/30 rifle, that belonged to Calvert Allred (Milt's father) that was made in 1910. Val owns the gun and then turned to Tad and said that when he dies, he wants Tad to have the gun. It was so touching and Tad had tears. Now the point of telling this story is that I recognize the blessings of family. I appreciate the stories of old and I want my children to feel the same and it is so important that we write our memories and stories for the generations to come.
I want for my kids to tell their kids of the good people that and memories that have helped shape their lives. I am thankful for all of my family and for my many friends. You all help shape my life and help me have a desire to be a better person. You lift me when I am down and for that I am thankful. Have a great day and know that I love you.
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