Andy’s cousin Rick graciously offered to drive us back to Denver, all 6 of us jammed into their car: Rick and his wife Kristi, me and Andy, and their daughters Sara and Kara, the latter of whom took the wayback.
We spent the rest of the weekend visiting my sisters Barbara and Joanne, who were meeting Andy for the first time. They live in Aurora, where Barbara and I were born and where I lived for a year while my Air Force father was stationed in Vietnam.
Aurora has long been our family hometown, so it’s quite strange for the city to become overnight an emblem of tragic violence. The Century 16 movie theater, where the crazed gunman murdered a dozen people and injured 58 more, turns out to be right down the street from where we stayed at Barbara’s house (formerly my parents’ residence). A week later, the impromptu memorial to the victims was in full swing.
Barbara and her husband Steve put us up in their guest room, whose decorative motif is Barbara’s favorite animal.
She’s seriously into giraffes.
My niece Carlee hosted a Sunday afternoon gathering, which gave me a chance to see her and her siblings, Jeri and Adam, and to meet Carlee’s new partner Mike and Adam’s new partner Laura.
Long lean Jeri as a hobby hand-paints T-shirts like the one modeled by her long lean son Kody.
Kody has bonded heavily with Mike’s rambunctious and adorably cute four-year-old, Josh.
Barbara’s house is full of pets, especially when Joanne brings her dog Molly over to commune with Barbara’s dog Rusty and her cat Callie. Only once did I manage to sight Lady, Barbara’s other cat who hides out all day under the bed and prowls the house by night. Let’s face it: Lady is a vampire.
While Andy and I were in Iceland in June, my sisters took a cruise to Alaska to celebrate my older sister Marianne’s 60th birthday. Barbara and Steve gave me a photo album from the trip that contained a big surprise — Barbara had brought along a mask of me that they had themselves photographed with all along the tour, “Where’s Waldo”-style.
And then Barbara got up early to chauffeur us to the flight back to New York. Sisters are great.