Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Annual Vacation

When Peggy and I got married in 1985, we went to Keystone, Colorado for our honeymoon. We got married in Dallas in August on a day that reached 108 degrees. We wanted to be cooler than that on our honeymoon. I mean temperature — the other was never a possibility. We spent eight days and never saw a temperature above 75. And a tradition was born.

Another tradition has kind of evolved over time, and it is a little scarier. Our lives have a habit of changing shortly after these annual trips. It doesn’t happen every year, but it has happened enough times to be noticeable. To Peggy. Which is really all that matters.

When we came home from our eighth anniversary trip in 1993, my company offered me a promotion that moved us from Dallas to San Antonio. While we were on the Colorado trip in 1997, that same company made the announcement that they were merging with another company and closing many offices. They offered to transfer me to Kansas City. I declined, and a few months later we moved to Houston with a different employer.

When we were about to leave for our fifteenth anniversary trip in 2000, the company that had sent me to Houston announced that it was in dire financial straits. When we got home I began work for another company, and my prior employer went out of business at the end of 2000.

In 2004, I accepted a job while we were on vacation and started as soon as we returned home. Then, in 2007, while we were on vacation, I got a call from my current employer offering me a job. I started the new job shortly after we returned from the trip.

So, the day before we left on vacation this year, the CEO of my company visits my office and tells me he has some plans for the company and he wants me to be a part of what he is planning. He said, “Don’t worry about it — go enjoy your vacation and we will talk when you get back.”

We talked when I got back. After sixteen years in Houston, Peggy and I are moving to Austin. The vacation was wonderful. It will be hard to leave what has become home, but we are looking forward to the next adventure. And, to be honest, I may be just a little bit afraid to go back to Colorado for vacation next year… 

Celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary at the same restaurant we went to on our honeymoon. Snake River Saloon, you still got it.
Leaving Colorado, as Peggy says, dumb and happy. With no idea of what is coming when we get home…

God Bless Bette

I have written before about the musical comedy troupe of which Peggy is a part, “Minnie Pause and the Hot Flashes.” It is a group that has brought joy to many folks over the last several years. In fact, the group tagline is “Joy 4 Life’s Journey.”

That journey ended today for Bette Puffer.

Bette is a long-time friend. Peggy and I taught her daughter in Sunday School and watched as Bette bravely battled breast cancer while Courtney was still in high school. Bette’s tough, and she beat breast cancer.

In our wonderful, silly show, Bette played Edie, the shopaholic who lovingly learns a few lessons along the way. In real life, Bette was the one that taught the lessons.

When we found out last year that the cancer had returned everyone was sad, but Bette refused to let that be the dominant emotion. If we really are going to sing about joy for life’s journey, it has to be all the parts of life’s journey. Nobody embodied that better than Bette.

The cancer was in Bette’s brain but she continued to perform. Even when it started impacting her ability to remember lines and dance moves, it only added to the fun of her character. That’s because Bette did not allow frustration to enter into it. When she made a mistake she just laughed at it, and that helped the rest of us to laugh along with her.

Bette’s final performance was our first ever performance at her home church. For years the church would not support the ministry, but they finally came through when we told them we wanted to perform a show for Bette’s friends and family at no charge. More than 500 people showed up that night to have a laugh, enjoy the show and honor Bette. It was one of the coolest experiences in which I have ever been privileged to participate. Bette stayed late and took pictures with everyone who wanted one, and that was pretty much everyone.

We love Bette and we will miss her. The ministry — and the show — will go on. We will not replace Bette’s character, but we will add another member of the troupe and we will continue. That is what Bette asked us to do. And her husband Willis will continue to be a part of the roadie crew with the other husbands.

The other three ladies are going to sing the finale of our show at her memorial service. No makeup or wigs, just three heartbroken women singing to the glory of God to honor their friend.

It will be something Bette would have loved.

Bette and Willis AKA Edie and Bubba
Bette Anne Puffer
January 23, 1956 – August 22, 2013

Another Reunion

About six weeks ago I wrote about a reunion Peggy and I attended in Dallas for members of the Youth Choir we sang with as teenagers; the group where Peggy and I met.

Coincidentally, three of our friends from that Youth Choir all live in Colorado. They were unable to make the reunion in Dallas, so Peggy and I brought the reunion to them! Another friend of ours happened to be visiting Colorado at the same time, so the six of us and our spouses got together in Idaho Springs and had a wonderful evening together. Here are the six choir members from the 70s and early-80s:

FBC Richardson Youth Choir alumni celebration in Idaho Springs, CO

The group looks pretty good except for the old, gray-haired dude in the back.

We stayed at the restaurant and visited and laughed until late into the evening. It is amazing how funny some of the stories still are after more than thirty years. The husbands were incredibly gracious and seemed to enjoy themselves, as well. At least many of the stories were new to them!

So many things have changed in the last thirty years — children, relocations, divorces, remarriage, job changes — but these are still the same wonderful friends we grew up with. We reminisced about other friends that we would love to see again, but mostly we talked about what is going on in our lives today. All of us are extremely blessed in our lives, and it was great to hear how everyone is moving on.

The whole group including the better halves

Thanks for the evening, folks! I would love to think we would do it more often, but I know how real life gets in the way. So we will enjoy these times when we get them and be thankful. And if we get to see you next year we will be thankful all over again!