Kelsey, one of the board members for Hearts Up Ranch, and her wonderful husband Ben were on a plane to Denver, Colorado on Thanksgiving morning to spend the long weekend with Ben’s family. Meanwhile, we were picked up by Ben’s dad, Ken, to join them for the holiday. It was a big family with lots of introductions, most of whose names we could not remember. But we were warmly welcomed and joined in with the festivities. We were so excited to see Kelsey and Ben, who we have not seen in person for a couple years. We loved every minute we were able to spend visiting with them.
The Thanksgiving food was fantastic home cooking, complete with a refreshments table, everything you could want for a traditional meal, and a desert table. To make things more interesting, the family happened to be celebrating Christmas at the same time this year. So after dinner, their tradition was to share talents, play fun games that everyone enjoyed for small prizes, and do a white elephant style gift giveaway. Their bitter- sweet silly tradition was a large “Frosty” lawn ornament that the not-so-lucky gift receiver had to take for an entire year, take pictures of all the fun places Frosty went for a year, share the slideshow with the family, then pass him on to the next victim. It was dreaded to get him, yet also somehow an honor. Guess who got him this year?- Kelsey and Ben! Since they are deploying to Afghanistan next year, they will have to photo shop the pictures as the Army would never let them take him. Yet….. so no one would have to suffer with Frosty again….. they were considering getting him blown up by terrorists!
One of Ben’s aunt and uncle’s took us in for the night, along with Kelsey and Ben and Ben’s parents. We had a leisurely breakfast in the morning, then went for a nice long hike. We got to have heart to heart talks with Kelsey and Ben and reconnect our friendship. What a blessing it was to spend the whole day together. Then while Ben visited with his family, Kelsey drove us ‘home’ to Susan’s house with a detour to some stores for a shopping spree for jeans, a yummy meal at Outback Steakhouse, and an evening at the movies. We hated to say goodbye, but were grateful for every moment we could spend with these dear friends.