Friday, August 28, 2020

 Remembering Coach Lute Olson

In 1988 Ron and I were very honored to be a part of the Ronald Reagan Official Presidential Delegation to the Olympics in Seoul, Korea.  The first night there was a welcome party at Jim Lily's home, our American Ambassador to South Korea. When we were introduced, along with the other members of our delegation, Ron spotted the University of Arizona basketball coach, Lute Olson in the crowd.  Because we were both U of A graduates and had a gigantic satellite dish on our roof in Potomac, Maryland for one reason only, watch the U of A wildcats play basketball.  Ron would call the University, get the coordinates for the game, and beam that sucker across the US of A to pick up the feed.   Somehow he'd always manage to find it and we were right there amid the hoopla.  It was magic. 

And because of this, Ron obviously knew exactly what Lute Olson looked like.  He couldn't wait for the speeches to end, and when they finally did, we made a B-line through the crowd to find our coach.

When we introduced ourselves, both Lute and his wife, Bobbi, said they were so glad to meet some Arizona folks because they didn't know a soul.  Ron told them to stick with us, and they joined the Official delegation as our special guests.  They were a wonderful addition and it was so much fun.

For years we would spend Christmas in Tucson with Ron's mom.  It was so great to leave the freezing east and enjoy the sunny weather in the southwest.  We would always get tickets to the Fiesta Classic Basketball tournament held in late December.  It was our chance to get to know the players and we always had dinner with Lute and Bobbi.  If it was around New Year's Eve, Bobbi always said we should wear something Glitzy.  She was such a dear lady and so fun to be with.

During this time, Ron was a member of the NCAA Leadership Foundation and they always held their annual meeting at the Final Four.  We did this for fourteen straight years.  Often it was another chance to spend time with Coach O and Bobbi and he never failed to reminisce about how we met and what fun our friendship had always been. We were there when the Arizona Wildcats blew away three number one seeds to beat Kentucky in triple overtime.  The year was 1997.

We will miss our precious friend, but we cherish all the special times we spent together.  Thanks for the memories, Coach O.  Tucson will never forget you.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

From White House to Walmart

Greetings everyone.  I haven't blogged for awhile, but at this scary, unbelievable, chaotic time, all the thoughts in my head are colliding with each other.  The result seems to be that they crowd out the reason I just went in the kitchen, or the what did I just remember I needed, thoughts. We've seen the best of times and the worst of times, but this is like a bad science fiction movie. Do you think we'll ever be normal again?

Ron and I are blessed to be stuck here on our High Mesa with it's million dollar view, warm swimming pool, no traffic, not many houses around, and the Wayne B. Collins Memorial citrus grove producing lots of Vitamin C.  We now have triple digit hot days forecast, and under normal circumstances we'd be thinking about heading to our cowboy cabin in Jackson Hole, but we won't go because we'd leave two daughters and two grandsons behind, and we wouldn't have the wonderful support we have here in the desert.

And . . . alas, our middle daughter Marja Walker is really sick with the classic symptoms of the corona virus.  She is so miserable and I feel so helpless and unable to comfort her. She has been tested twice and both came  back negative.  Yet she still has all the symptoms, although they may be getting  a wee tiny bit better each day.  With apologies to my pal Don Rumsfeld, there sure are a lot of unknown unknowns!  Please remember Marja in your prayers.

Daughter Lisa, after seeing her dream job as an aesthetician at beautiful Miraval Spa disappear, her college student, Hugh and high school junior, Jake under foot full time and mad as hornets about it, she got herself hired as a Walmart Associate, filling the grocery orders of others to put food on her own table.  She's owns the title role of this blog.  Right after college she worked in the Reagan Advance office, the only one of her college pals to have a job after graduation.  Now she's keeping three houses stocked and walking over 18,000 steps every day.  Her wonderful attitude peeks out when she tells people that Walmart is paying her to exercise.

Luckily Marja and Lisa live here in Oro Valley within easy walking distance of each other.  We all have coolers outside for drop offs that now have replaced the always wonderful and welcome drop ins of yesterday.  Air kisses, hands over hearts, and shouts of "Love ya" have replaced wonderful hugs and sitting comfortably together to chat.

Daughter Lynne and the best son-in-law possible, Barry, live in Lexington, Kentucky.  Way too far away to have a cooler outside waiting for necessities to appear.  Lynne, as president of the International Spa Association abruptly shut its doors, cut staff, and now spends her time talking members, friends and strangers off the telephone poles while working remotely via Zoom.  Barry, with a huge inner-city, developing historic district as his office, still checks it out early every morning because his tenants have all closed their businesses and the not-working do nothings of the area watch for their chance to steal and vandalize.  Since Barry always carefully researches all things he wants to do, when he comes back home he enters the breeze-way, strips naked, and streaks through the house and up the stairs headed to the shower.  Sometimes he flies past Lynne's Zoom call with-in camera range.  Luckily he's a fast runner.

As for myself, I never seem to have the time to feel bored.  My book club and bible study quickly adapted to ZOOM.  We have regular family ZOOM cocktail parties.  Among my other things to do, I have been making masks.  I deliver them to the precious, peaceful prayer garden at our church at first light in the morning.  Church members, hikers, and many others stop by to say a prayer and find a moment of quiet peace.  As word got out, folks have been stopping by to pick up a mask to keep them safe. That makes me so happy.  It might be corny, but I like to think that each one is AnneOriginal and each stitch is full of prayers to keep the wearer safe.

I also, happily, accept catering requests.  Today it's Marja's request for some chicken salad.  Soon someone will stop by to pick it up for the Hart House and Marja's front door cooler.  I put several dozen healing hugs in the cooler too.

Anyone recognize that fabric?  (Our couch and curtains in the Dallas house.)
Stay safe everybody.  Hope it is over soon!