Saturday, June 27, 2009

Good Hearts, part 2.

It’s morning on Lake Elmo. Red-winged blackbirds, robins, cardinals and other birds sing out as great white egrets look for breakfast among the lilly pads. The view from my comfy chair in the bedroom is a rare one, because about one-half of the lakeshore is public land. Yesterday’s (6/25) little swim confirmed that the water temperature is just right, which is always surprising to me, knowing that people can drive cars on the lake during winter.

K, Sarah & I met Ed & Ann at Mears Park in St. Paul last evening, which was a beautiful evening: hot in the sun but perfect in the shade. Mears Park is a terrific one-block sized urban park. A forest stream (man-made yet very pretty & pleasant) flows diagonally through it. A bandstand on one edge of the block fronts a concrete area, while grassy areas soften the other edges. A band supported a singer as she crooned some classics, providing us good background music as we all talked.

I met Ed in 1978 as he roomed with K. Ann has always been a very sweet and loving girl, now woman, who always seemed to know what she wanted and what was best for Ed. I think the years have proven her right, as Christmas letters told the story of raising their two children into a loving family unit. Ed was always her big lug of a guy, who could intimidate with his size and charm with his spirit. They both looked great, and I loved hearing the 25-year update of all that they have accomplished together and some of what they see for their future.

Eventually, we all found a shaded courtyard restaurant for dinner where I asked the question to both couples: “Where would Ed have been without Ann, and where would K have been without Sarah?” Despite the ups and downs that every marriage and relationship must have, these two couples found love, marriage, children and happiness. I feel sad for those guys who either are not loveable or, despite being loveable, never found someone to love them. We ended up at the “Happy gnome” for desert, driving around St. Paul’s magnificent cathedral, which still dominates the city, a century or more after it was built.

Earlier in the day, I got acquainted with Kai and Eric, K & Sarah’s sons. Kai joined us for a boat ride on Lake Elmo out to the public sandy beach on the far side. Kai was kind enough to let me join him on drums playing Eye of the Tiger on the rockstar video game. Eric was busy most of the day, but K and I had the chance to take him to his little league game, each volunteering our advice on how to bat. Later, we learned that his coach had elevated Eric to lead off batter because he is so adept at getting on base. He finds ways, despite being overmatched as a 7th grade batter facing 9th grader pitchers.

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