I could just post a few pictures of the party and call it a day. But, mostly because Sue NEVER READS THIS BLOG -- I've decided to give you some "behind the scenes".
Sue and Kim got married 40 years ago -- in the backyard of the century-old-farmhouse where she grew up -- under a large white tent. They raised their son and daughter in Clinton, Iowa, near Kim's job. Sue stayed at home with the kids, and at the moment she was thinking about going back to work -- she became the primary caretaker for old people. First, her in-laws -- then her parents. I swear -- her life was all about that for 20 years.
She is VERY GOOD AT TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE -- and we are all lucky to have her.
After her parents died, Sue inherited that 100-year-old house. It was a BIG house for two people and it was in a very sad state. It had long ago been divided into two separate residences -- with a kitchen and dining room in the large upstairs. The many room air conditioners struggled to keep up -- the roof was bad and the heating bills were astronomical.
At the time -- I said -- SAVE YOURSELF -- RUN -- FAR FAR AWAY -- !!
Sue could not be discouraged. She launched herself (and Kim!) into a two-year renovation project. I can't begin to list the work they did. Turning the upstairs apartment back into large, gracious bedrooms...taking down 50 year old wallpaper...new wiring, new heating and air conditioning with zones...painting all the trim...they worked on the inside, they worked on the outside. Sue had a vision and she doggedly kept at it for 60+ hours every week -- always driven by a massive "to do" list. Contractors -- new plumbing, new wiring, new furnaces. Sue did all the sanding, painting, hauling, cleaning...sleeping on the floor in an exhausted heap. She knew exactly how the house should look -- and bringing it back to it's original grandeur became her mission.
I was convinced that committing to this big old house was a huge mistake. But, as it turns out -- restoring this house is one of the proudest accomplishments of her life. She was determined and she always kept her eye on the prize. She wanted a place where her children could bring their children to know who they are and where they came from.
She wanted her grandchildren to go sledding down the big hill in the back of the house, then come inside for homemade cookies and hot chocolate. She wanted to watch them sleep in the little room under the eaves...and wake up to the smell of cinnamon rolls...
She wanted to bring this house back to what it was three generations ago....and she did. She wanted to create happy memories for her family in this house -- and she will. Last week -- for Kim's retirement party -- she invited family and friends to this revitalized place where her parents, and her grandparents and her great-grandparents lived and worked and played.
You were right, Sue. I was wrong. What you've done is remarkable. And only you could have done it. Kim's retirement party was the best celebration Magnolia Crest farm ever hosted.