Remember the boy next door? The cute kid that used to pick on you? Tease you? Wouldn't give you the time of day? I even remember crawling out my bedroom window to play ball with him and the other kids in the middle of the street after we were all suppose to be asleep. I'm sure our parents knew, but it was summer, hot, no air conditioning in those days, and our little world was so safe and serene. How times have changed...and how that little boy next door grew...and grew!
He who went off to college to study literature and psychology, became a vegetarian, became a cop, married Gretchen (the fabulous artist) and turned into a hunk! How do they do that and we who are so close never notice?!
Over the years, we've ran into each other at class reunions and he has always asked me to 'stop by the farm' if I'm every in the area (southwestern Missouri). Well this trip I was and I emailed for him to get out his Medley (the Danville High School yearbook) that I was taking he and Gretchen (the fabulous artist - see pic)
Their lovely farm houseis set on a beautiful, rolling 80 acre spread in the Missouri Ozarks where Ralph has planted literally 100's of trees, mostly varieties of all kinds of fruit, but many others as well. He and Gretchen maintain a large garden,
both veggie and herbs, that produces enough produce for them and to sell at the weekly Farmer's Market during the season. Their property, of which I got a tour in the grand ol' pick-up, even has it's own 'river and stream running through it'. It makes for peaceful sleep and tranquil living - when not off doing your regular 9-5 job so you can live on the farm and plant veggies!
Interestingly, this part of Missouri has a large Amish and Mennonite population and horse and buggies carrying bonnet and hat clad members of their faith off to school or shopping is an everyday site. Still something a city-girl enjoys seeing.
After 2 days of catching-up, it was time for me to wheels-up and strike out for the longest part of this trip - Crossing Kansas!
Until next time....remember to keep your oldest and dearest friends near - they are still the best friends!