home again, home again, jiggety jog

The Roamers happily head home

What a wonderful trip we had! We saw so many of our loved ones, had quality time with our darling granddaughter and her parents, and attended my twice-postponed 50th reunion, which celebrated “70 at 70” since we graduated in 1970 and are now 70 years old! After Dallas, we spent a couple of nights in Oklahoma City, where I mostly stayed in bed nursing a bad case of bronchitis while Phil saw several of his old friends. Then we met my brother and sis-in-law, Larry and Lea, for a lovely brunch in Tulsa, followed by introducing them to The Gathering Place. We spent that night with bestie Beth, and as a special bonus her sister Jenni joined us for dinner. It was a short visit, but any time we get together is a treasure. The next morning we drove to Stillwater and Oklahoma State University, where I spent four years. It was almost unrecognizable after all this time! After a quick lunch, we were off to Ponca City, my hometown.

We checked in to the Osage Casino, where the reunion was being held, before heading to dear friend and Wild Woman Linda’s childhood home for an apéro (but we don’t call it that in Oklahoma!). The time has come to sell the house, so this was a bittersweet gathering at a home that holds many fond memories.

Wild Women + Phil at Linda’s

After apéro, we all headed to Odie’s, an outdoor sports bar, for the welcome reception. It was SO COOL to see all those old friends! The best surprise for me was seeing my junior prom date Benjie and meeting his lovely wife; I hadn’t seen him since 1970! We had about 20% of our class in attendance, which I think is great for 52 years after graduation!

Natalie and Gracelyn, amazing reunion organizers

The next morning we enjoyed a drive down memory lane, visiting all four homes my parents had in Ponca City. I was happy to see that all of them have been well maintained. Then we visited Cann Gardens, a favorite of my dad’s, and we were blown away by the beauty. My dad was active in the community, a loyal Lions’ Club member, Cann Gardens supporter, and key participant in Ponca City’s holiday Festival of Angels.

Cann Gardens–gorgeous!

Next we had a reunion picnic at Lake Ponca, the site of many dates, escapades, water skiing adventures, and more. The weather was perfect, and the company even better!

Po-Hi Picnickers

Phil has known and loved my Wild Women (a group of high school friends who gather annually) for many years, so unlike many spouses, he enjoyed seeing friends at my reunion, especially Gracelyn’s husband Ralph.

Phil and Ralph at the picnic

That evening we strolled to the casino’s ballroom for the big event. I really didn’t want it to end, and despite my best efforts there were a few friends I missed chatting with.

Official reunion photo. I’m at the back.

The following morning we had one last visit at Linda’s house, for breakfast. Tina made eggs, Linda made her fabulous and famous paleo muffins, and we sadly said goodbye to the house and each other, with plans and promises for our next time together.

The gang at Linda’s house

Then it was off to Dallas for one last dinner with dear friends Marsha and Bob. The next day promised two flights and a train ride, then a taxi home! On our flight from JFK to CDG, a flilght attendant shared her favorite book list with several of us. I haven’t yet ordered any of the books, but they’re on my list.

How kind of her to share her book list!

And then. . .we were home! Admittedly we were a bit jet lagged, but it was so good to be back after five weeks. While we enjoyed our time in the USA, we have realized that we truly think of France as our home, despite our struggles to learn the language.

A favorite street in Montpellier, making a stand against breast cancer

I was still a bit under the weather, so to cheer myself up I went shopping–online at Mellie Earrings! And some of what I ordered was from the Etsy shop.

My shopping haul

We’ve enjoyed seeing our Montpellier friends again–our coffee group, the Quiz Night gang, and others. Recently friends Margi and Michael alerted us to a wonderful piano concert at an intimate cafe. It was such a fun event, and we’re hoping to attend the entire season.

Enjoying the piano conert–with cocktails!

And last Sunday we finally explored another market, in the Antigone neighborhood. It was great–lots of vendors with new things to try. We enjoyed aligot, a rich dish made with potatoes, cheese, and cream, dipped to order out of a huge vat. And I was fascinated by all the varieties of mushrooms, although sadly there were no morels. But we bought a giant cèpe that I’m going to stuff tonight for dinner. And we discovered a delicious new mushroom, the Lactaire delicieux, pictured below. The green part is not mold, but is caused by being touched. I sauteed them in olive oil with herbes de provence and flaky salt, and they were indeed delicieux!

Delicious mushrooms

And so, we are home again. We feel deep gratitude for our fabulous trip, and even more for being able to come home to such a wonderland. Montpellier is, for us, home indeed.

Montpellier’s Arc de Triomphe in autumn