I have taken another long break from blogging due to the past few weeks containing so many events. Some have been very joyful, and some have been very sad. That’s life, and it’s important to put into perspective the fact that no day is guaranteed to us. Chris and I have always made it a point to take no day for granted. That was put to the test this week when we received some very bad news on short notice.
Before I get into some of the things that we have been up to, I would like to share that someone very special to us passed away this week. Chris’ grandfather, Martin Beck, has been a huge role model and supporter of Chris throughout his life. We were very shocked earlier this week when we found that he had come down with a case of pneumonia, which many of us already know can be very serious for older people.
I have known Martin since I started dating Chris back in the 10th grade. He lived right down the road from Chris’ dad, and I always loved how involved he was with his family and how interesting and witty he always was. He had so many interesting stories to tell, from his days as a Kappa Alpha pledge at Auburn to being a POW during WWII. He was a very successful man. He invented several machines related to turf farming and ran his own grass farm business before eventually settling into retirement and never letting a day go wasted. If he wasn’t travelling to other countries, or even just to other states to visit his many old friends or spend a few days in Panama City, he was on the golf course. He was also very generous. He was absolutely the definition of someone I would call a “life-long” learner…he never stopped being interested in learning new things as he got older, and funded a lot of scholarships at Auburn. He meant a lot to a lot of people, especially Chris and his brother, Warren. I know everyone who knew him is sad to see him go, but the great thing is that we can look back on his life and see someone who had a lot of accomplishments and, more importantly, never stopped contributing to his family and community. To me, this is very comforting during a time of grief.
Martin loved reading this blog and even asked about Mason when he was in the hospital and not doing well or talking much. I heard him say several times that he thought Mason belonged in commercials. I’m glad that Mason got to pay him a visit a couple of weeks ago over the Christmas weekend. I know Martin is glad to have been able to watch his oldest grandson graduate from the Air Force Academy, be appointed as an officer, and get married.
I wish I would have found this earlier, but I was poking around online after hearing of his death, and found this copy of his original patent for a grass planter (as well as some other articles about this history of turf farming that mentioned his name for the other invention of his that I mentioned above). I found it so inspiring and a perfect example of how brilliant he really was:
We will always remember Martin fondly and I know we are both so glad that we got to know him and that he was a part of our lives. Please keep Chris, his brother Warren, dad Chris,Sr., and Martin’s wife, Virginia in your prayers.
|Us with Martin and Virginia a couple of nights after we got engaged.|
I must say, since Chris left Tuesday for his month of training in Pueblo, Colorado, I already feel the pressures of being military wife since I have been working in Birmingham this week and had to make special arrangements for Mason to stay with our friends Meredith and Ryan King during the day. Still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the little guy while I’m at work all day since he’s used to his daddy taking him out to play. Oh, the trials of single motherhood! For the first time since I started blogging I admit that I am just too busy this week to gather all the pictures I took together to post...especially since Chris has half of them on his iPhone. Maybe I can get them up next week!
The last couple of weeks, we have really been busy. Christmas was a special weekend since it was our first together. We had the opportunity to spend some quality time with many of our family members that we don’t see as often, although I’m sure we would have spent longer with them if we would have had the time. The good news is, it’s finally 2012 which means I get some vacation time! So maybe next year’s holidays won’t be so short.
We were especially glad to see Nancileigh and Matt, Chris’ grandparents who live in Florida. We had not seen them since the wedding. We also went to Phenix City Christmas evening to see some of my extended family. We weren’t there for very long since we then came back to spend Christmas night at Chris’ dad’s house, but it was still nice just to pop in and say hello to everyone there. To be honest, I’m sure there were tons of things I was going to share about Christmas, but things have been such a whirlwind since then and so many other things have happened, I’m afraid to share too much because I don’t want to leave anything out J
Last week I took a week off of running to spend more time with Chris since I knew he would be leaving soon. We packed up Thursday to go to Atlanta for the weekend to go to the bowl game. Thursday night while we were getting dinner ready, I got a call from someone who is a super-special friend of mine (since the 7th grade, plus we were roommates for all of undergraduate college at AU) with a surprise announcement…yes you guessed it, but I don’t think anyone was as surprised as she was. My friend Hannah is engaged to her boyfriend, Chase. They are another couple a lot like Chris and I who started dating in high school, took a little time apart in college which (apparently) made them realize that they couldn’t do without each other, got back together and, alas, they will be joining the married people club sometime soon.
The bowl game weekend was awesome. Friday night, we met up with another of my closest friends, Lauren Emily (I call her Ellie) and her fiancé Matt (they got engaged over Thanksgiving break…yay, another couple for the married people club!)…and also, with Sara and her boyfriend Aaron who spent the weekend in Atlanta with us…we went to this restaurant that I’m a big fan of in Atlanta, called Dante’s Down the Hatch. If you love fondue and Pirates of the Caribbean, you should be a fan of this place. There is a big boat in the middle with a real alligator in it (or maybe it’s a crocodile?).
I am eternally grateful to Ellie for keeping Mason over the weekend! She is from the Atlanta area, and her house was just 20 minutes from our hotel in Buckhead. We got into a real bind with Mason because all of the boarding facilities we tried to use were full. Ellie volunteered to keep him and we could tell he had an awesome time because he so tired after the weekend was over! He got to play with her and Matt’s dogs (Mason loves to play!).
Saturday morning, Sara and I did some light shopping before meeting up with the guys to go to lunch in downtown Atlanta. From there, we tailgated for the game at an RV tailgate that Dusty invited us to. RV tailgates are so fun, I kind of want one! Anyway, the game was awesome and we won by way more than any of us thought we would!
After the game, the 6 of us (Ellie and Matt met back up with us) went to Gordon Biersh in midtown Atlanta. This wound up being the most perfect plan, although I wasn’t sure how it would turn out at first. I was concerned that if we tried to go to any of the Atlanta bar/clubs to ring in New Years that we would get lost in a huge crowd and spend way too much money on the expensive cover that most places had because of New Years. Plus, I was afraid we would spend the “clock-stroking-midnight” moment waiting in line somewhere. Plus I knew we would be hungry. So, even though Chris and I love going out in Atlanta, we decided to take a different approach by making a reservation at Gordon Biersh at 11:30. I really liked how we could make reservations that late on a website I use called Open Table, so we knew that we would have a guaranteed seat. When we got there (about 11:45 after taking the Marta from the GA Dome), the restaurant was practically empty and we got served champagne and lots of food very quickly. The restaurant was quiet enough for us to all talk and have a great time, and there were TVs everywhere where we could keep up with other games. Did I mention the food? Football makes me hungry! Ellie’s sweet dad even picked us all up from Gordon Biersh and took us back so we didn’t have to wait forever on a cab or take the Marta back.
Unfortunately, on the way home, that’s where we received notice that Chris’ grandfather was not doing well. We changed our plans from going back to Columbus Sunday to going to Auburn. Chris prepared some things that he wanted to tell his grandfather in case this was “it”. Luckily, he got a chance to say those things and I know that now he is very glad that he got to. We left Auburn feeling very encouraged that Martin was going to recover, because he looked well and acted positive in the time we spent with him. However, we all know that it is not God’s will for us to live forever. I do not claim to be familiar every verse in the Bible the way I probably should, but one that I am familiar with is in Ecclesiastes 3 and it has brought me comfort over the years during sad times. As it says, there is a time to be born and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Chris and I have had many good times in the (almost) 6 months we have spent married. Right now is a very difficult time because in the wake of Chris’ loss of his grandfather, he is far away in Colorado and will be unable to return for the funeral. I am deeply saddened by Martin’s death, as well, and the one person I would really like to be able to comfort and to have comfort me cannot be here. However, I know that the good times will come again and that the family can find comfort in each other and in his memory, and that Chris can have the relief of knowing he got to say goodbye before leaving to train. Martin will be very much missed.