The weekend was much overdue. You see, last year Lois had a significant birthday, one that the greeting cards often rhyme with "Nifty." I didn't do anything.
In my defense, her birthday is at the end of May, and my son Harrison graduated from high school, so I was busy. Lois' daughter Bethany graduated as well, so we were even at their home in South Dakota for Bethany's graduation and party, but we didn't do anything for Lois' birthday coming up the next week. I wanted to plan a sister weekend getaway, but my family traveled so much last year I couldn't imagine adding another trip.
This year May 28 (her birthday) came and went. Nothing. As you can see, planning and making decisions are not my strong suit. I finally called and apologized to Lois for my dismal lack celebratory efforts, and I told her my idea of a sister getaway. She gave me a few weekends she had available this summer, I got to work.
I figured the simplest way to make this happen was for both of us to drive and meet halfway. We are both about four hours from York, Nebraska. I did a little online research and found the Prairie Creek Inn outside of Lincoln. Since I was already down for two birthdays, I booked two nights.
Growing up, Lois and I got along pretty well, except for one summer when we were constantly fighting over a trade deal gone bad. (Seriously, I am pretty sure one of us traded a little ring box for a cardboard Tart 'n Tinies candy box, had remorse, and fought the whole summer trying to renegotiate. The WHOLE summer. It also happened to be 1977, the summer Mom was pregnant with our brother David. At times the battles raged so fiercely that she has said she was almost questioning the wisdom of having another child. Sorry, Mom).
|Peace at last- Lois and I decided to become friends some time after our brother David was born.|
But eventually we decided to be friends, and have had a good relationship ever since. The problem has always been distance. A few years after Lois and Craig were married they moved to Omaha, a six-hour drive from Wichita. Then about 12 years ago they moved to Menno, South Dakoka, a nine-hour drive. So our visits averaged about twice a year.
And even then, with babies and little kids, we had no time to talk. Visits would be over and we still would have much to say.
That's why I was super excited in May 2013. Lois had earned a trip to Hawaii with Creative Memories, but her husband Craig couldn't go, so she asked me. Yes, I was excited to go to Hawaii of course, but being able to spend five days together with my sister with no kids and responsibilities was unprecedented. When we finally met in the Denver airport and hugged each other, I knew that even if we were unable to make our flight to Honolulu and had to spend the five days in the Denver airport, we would still have a good time. (Thankfully, that's not what happened, but I am serious about this. After all, the airport has Starbucks).
|May 2013- Lois and Karen meeting in the Denver airport on our way to Hawaii|
That Friday, Dave and I got up extra early to get our lawns mowed (we are the owners and sole employees of Franklin Lawn Service). The boss let me go around noon while he finished the rest of the route. I texted Lois when I was ready to leave (only about 25 minutes later than the target).
Since I was going straight to the B&B which is southeast of Lincoln, my GPS routed me off of the interstate and onto some Nebraska roads. I took the road less traveled and enjoyed the rural scenery. Lois missed and exit and got stuck in Lincoln's rush hour traffic (which isn't all that bad. Lincoln's not that big), but she pulled up at the Prairie Creek Inn only two minutes after me.
|We're here! The Prairie Creek Inn near Lincoln, Nebraska|
We got a brief tour and checked out our room. A bookcase in the sitting area outside our room had some familiar Christian titles, so we suspected the owners, Bruce and Maureen, were believers.
|Our room had a quilt and antique furnishings|
The other guests were going to be out until 9 p.m., so we had the place to ourselves for dinner. I had told Lois I would bring salads for us, and she offered to bring pasta salad, so we relaxed on the wide wraparound porch and enjoyed the peaceful evening.
|I brought a strawberry spinach salad|
|Lois brought real plates for her pasta salad|
We took a walk around the grounds, checked out the short prairie walk and took a few pictures.
|The lake was only a short walk away.|
|We opted to have our breakfast on the porch.|
We had a good talk at breakfast. I shared some things from the past few years that I hadn't wanted to talk about over the phone. It was good to have uninterrupted face-to-face time.
I'd found a Top Ten list of things in Lincoln. Visiting the Sunken Gardens was #2, so we headed there. It was pretty, although smaller in area than Botanica in Wichita.
|The domed entrance was cool.|
|The Sunken Gardens in Lincoln, Nebraska|
We had enjoyed the unusually cool July morning, but the day was growing hot, so we moved on to #12 on the list, the Sheldon Museum of Art because we figured it would have good air conditioning. I hadn't realized that it was on the University of Nebraska campus. We enjoyed seeing the art.
|Sheldon Museum of Art|
|I liked the Impressionists|
We have our plain pine boards, and we are ready to create!
A few hours later, we're done!
We both love pasta, and we both thoroughly enjoyed our entrees. Vincenzo's Ristorante was listed as the best Italian restaurant in Lincoln. Although the weather was still a little warm, we enjoyed sitting outside and watching people coming to the Haymarket district for the evening.
I loved the succulents in the restaurant's flower boxes.
We headed back to the Prairie Creek Inn. We sat on the porch with the other couples staying at the Inn. They were all from Omaha. Since Lois had lived in Omaha for a dozen years and ran a successful Creative Memories business, we thought surely they would know someone in common, but they never found any significant connections. We all enjoyed the view of the moon rising over the barn.
|Breakfast with the Omaha couples in the dining room.|
"Karen, I've found the connection!" she said excitedly.
Lois had been visiting with Maureen, the B&B owner, while she was cleaning up breakfast. Lois mentioned we were going to church. Maureen said they went to a country church close to there. "Is it Country Bible Church?" she asked.
Yes, it was. Yes, they knew Kevin and Natalie Ediger, had for years. Maureen and Kevin served on the same team. Of course they did! We laughed really hard at the coincidence. Not as hard as when we found out that Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton was marrying a Adam from Parkview M.B. in Hillsboro and would be having a wedding reception there, but it was close to that kind of moment.
We spent longer saying goodbye to the Omaha couples than we should have, and then I had to get gas (Bruce had told me there was a Casey's on the way, which was good, because I was on E and we really were out in the country). So we were a little late when we were ushered in to the church, the sanctuary was darkened and they were already singing. The chairs were in three sections, laid out very similar to West Ridge. And the usher sat us in the left side of the center section, a few rows back from the front. Exactly where I sit at West Ridge with my family every week. I call coincidences like that a smile from God. I felt immediately at home.
|This is just like where I sit in my church every Sunday!|
|Maureen and Bruce, owners of the Prairie Creek Inn|