Thursday, May 13, 2010

Closure: Graduation and End of our Trip

This was a big weekend as you can tell from the cake!!


(Thanks for the great cake,Sandy!!)

This was definitely not the time for us to be without our camera!

Thursday before graduation and the camera has FAILED for sure.  We had been nursing along the camera for months knowing that sometimes the lens would not always come out or retract.  But, it was now down for the count, no jimmying or graphite was going to do the trick anymore.

We had already determined that our 6 year old Canon Powershot had been so reliable up until now and fit our needs so well, we simply wanted the updated version. 

Only problem… we were at Fox Ridge State Park and, when researching online,  the closest Canon Powershot SX20 we could find on the internet was at Best Buy in Champaign, IL,  50 miles away.  And so… Happy Mother’s Day to me…we made a quick 100 mile roundtrip to buy a new camera. 

Considering we’ve had no time to read the instruction manual, it’s really good that this new camera works very similar to the original since we picked it up and started using it.  We also picked up an 8 Gig memory card since  it can take HD movies as well and 8 Gig will hold 40 minutes of video.  One more feature I will need to master.

This camera is 12.1 megapixels and has a 20x optical zoom –these are two order-of-magnitude improvements that we were really looking forward to the most.  I’m anxious for some time to actually learn this camera since while it is easy point-n-click on ‘auto’ mode, the number of added features and technology improvements are amazing.

On Friday, our graduates, Trevor and his roommate Chris Vaccaro, joined their Dad’s for golf.  Then, the golfers joined Kyle and Jenni, Leah and me in the village of Greenup, IL, for dinner at Saathoff’s  Cafe.   

2009 09 13 EIU vs Indiana State 044

Ken and I  discovered this great little restaurant during the football season (see Sept, 2009 post)  and have been recommending it ever since.  In fact, Mike Saathoff dropped by the table to talk for quitea while, mostly about EIU football with the guys, but also thanked us for sending  him  business, like the persons’ from the state park that had just dropped in the day before and apparently appreciated his homemade onion rings so much that they had to order second helpings!!




We had also made a really big deal to the gang about the really neat old-fashioned ice cream shop on the opposite corner and so at least some of us saved enough room for a sweet finish to the meal!














Kyle and Jenni headed back in to Charleston with Trevor and Leah to participate in the last weekend of college partying. IMG_0036

This meant that Ken and I were puppysitting for the evening with Kyle and Jenni’s dog, Staley.  Now Staley looks to be about 1/2 boxer and 1/2 boston terrier so, at 10 months,she is already twice the size of Ditka and Sox, BUT she was in their domain and they made sure she knew they were in control.  They gave her one section of the couch and growled and herded her back there any time she tried to get them to play or tried to come play with us.  3 dogs are a bit too much in 400 sq feet!!

I finally closed Staley in the bedroom with me while Ken slept on the couch with our two dogs.  With 40 mph winds whistling through the campground it was a LONG night.  The wind would howl, then Sox would get jump up, run around and whine, causing Staley to whimper and cry.  By the time daylight dawned, I’d pretty much had it with the sounds of nature!!

Kyle and Jenni had slept at Trevor’s but headed back to the RV to have breakfast, take a run with the dog, and then dress for graduation. 

We had a dinner planned for the housemates and their families at the Firefly Grill in Effingham. IMG_0041 Trevor had taken Leah here for Valentine’s Day and this was his location of choice  for his graduation meal.





Besides our family…..



we were joined by Chris Vaccaro’s Mom, Dad, Grandmother, Grandfather and sister, and Kevin Mahoney and his Mom and Dad.  These guys, as housemates and players,have become such good friends over the years that it has brought all the families close to them as well, so, it was really nice for all of us to get to be together this one last weekend.


The waitress was nice enough to go out on the deck to try to get a group photo.  Unfortunately, it was very cold and windy!!


This is one of my new favorite pictures of the guys.  Kevin, in the middle, is the only player Trevor has been with all 5 years since Kevin, even though he was an Ohio boy, transferred from Bowling Green State in Ohio to Eastern Illinois with Trevor after their sophomore year.  We were here in December for Kevin’s graduation when he received his degree in Criminal Justice.




We got the guys back to their house to get their gowns on and after getting them to pose for this shot in front of the house, immediately headed off for the ceremony. 


There were actually 4 graduation ceremonies at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday.  The School of Business had the last ceremony. 


The MBA grads were first in this group and carried in their master degree hoods to be placed on their shoulders by the dean as part of the ceremony. IMG_0126

While most of the football players at EIU graduate, Chris and Trevor were the only two football players that made it all the way through the master’s program within  their 5 year football scholarship.  Trevor did it even after switching schools which meant he had to put in a lot of extra hours over the summers.  It was really great that these two guys were so close to challenge each other to reach this goal.



So, we finally have both sons completing their graduate degrees.  You always want more for your kids and since Ken and I have bachelor degrees but have neither gone on to complete grad degrees, we are especially happy to see both our sons complete this level of education. 




Trevor will have to be back here next year to see Leah graduate.












We went back to the guys’ house after the ceremony where they posed for us with proper wedding-cake form to cut their cake!








Ken and I, Kyle and Jenni left the festivities when it got close to midnight and time for the grads and their friends to make a final crawl through the pubs around campus.


Back at the motorhome, as soon as we had the sofa bed made out, all 3 dogs made sure Kyle knew it was where they wanted to sleep.

We left Kyle and Jenni with Staley in the front of the rig and took the Shiba’s to the bedroom with Ken and me, and despite four in the bed, I was able to get a much better night’s sleep this time.

That was good since we had yet one more bit of festivities before the weekend was over.  IMG_0152


Sunday was Mother’s Day and all the families were invited to our rig for a ‘potluck’ brunch.








While Chris’ family had to head back home,  Bodie Reeder, the quarterback for most to Trev’s time at EIU,  and his parents and girlfriend were able to join us this time.  Since Bodie had a different graduation ceremony on Saturday this was our first opportunity to include him.


Bodie and Trevor actually go back farther than anyone else on the team since they played against each other in high school and Bodie was one of the main people to encourage Trevor to make his move to EIU from Bowling Green after Bodie moved there from playing at Wyoming.   Bodie’s Dad acts as team chaplain so he’s gotten close to these guys over the years as well.




I was glad to see that everyone stayed around for a long time after just to enjoy each others company.



Mid afternoon, our guest departed and Kyle and Jenni packed up for their trip back to Carlinville.

I was a bit misty-eyed as we began getting the rig ready for our departure the next day. 

This weekend has had the feeling of significant closure for me.  We are ending our 8 week adventure on the road and reflecting back on what that has meant as a turning point in our lives, what we’ve learned and where we go from here. And, more specifically, here in Charleston, with Trev’s graduation, we are  saying good-bye to close friends who we’ll get to see so much less now, especially the guys who had really become part of our family.  Trevor is now leaving EIU and  his football  career.   Knowing Trev, our youngest,  is now moving on, out of school, and out of football which has been such a center in our lives for so many years,  is a point of closure for our whole family.    When one door closes, another opens, and so I only allow myself a small time for mourning what will be no more, and let Ken give me an understanding hug for awhile,  before bucking up and looking forward to all the wonderful adventures ahead beyond those new doors I know are opening.


Hugs, C


Jim and Dee said...

They sure will. I remember doing that with both boys leaving college and moving on. It's quite a change. See you next week! We'll help you thru it.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on all...I absolutely love how you've followed your boys through a way a family should do...Well done, Cindy and Ken!

Happytrails said...

You are beginning a new chapter!!
You will carry those wonderful memories with you as your turn the next page.

What outstanding accomplishments...I know you are proud. I can see from the pics that you all are a really neat family. I like that.

Looking forward to reading and seeing what excitement is in store for you all next.

Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

Leno said...

Oh boy, you even got me misty eyed reading this.. Change is hard..
We went through it with our son, who was a hockey player. We followed him for years and got so close to his friends and family's. It was a great loss when it all ended.
But newer and better things are in our lives now...Grandchildren!
Look forward to hearing what your future will bring.

Frerx Adventures said...

Thanks for the kind words, Dee, Lisa, Gerri,'s nice to have so many understanding 'kindred spirits' in our RV family!!