Since we will be heading west later in the year and we will be out there for the next two years or so, we thought we should visit our friend, Therese, in Bradenton. So, we drove the four and a half hours from Jacksonville on Monday and arrived at Therese's house in the afternoon.
We've been friends with Therese since the early 1990s. She was a vendor with Xerox and Linda was a purchasing manager in Louisville. I was working a full-time job as an accountant and going to law school at night. Therese was single and Linda was practically single at that time, so they hit it off. Eventually, Therese got married to John and I met him for the first time in 1992, the night before their wedding. The four of us became great friends over time and we often visited them on their farm in Indiana on weekends. We even did some traveling together and have had some memorable times over the years. After John retired from Ford, they moved to Bradenton, Florida between Tampa and Sarasota.
Unfortunately, John was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011, and he went downhill fast after a surgery in January 2012. Linda & I were able to be with him and Therese helping out the last week he was alive. It was a profound time in our lives, and little did I know that experience and working with hospice would help me during the last days with my mother in December 2014 and my father in October 2016.
Last year, Therese was also diagnosed with cancer. Between our RV show speaking gigs in January 2016, Linda went to stay with her, took her to treatments, and helped her as much as she could. I didn't write about Linda's purpose for being there back then. Fortunately, the treatments were successful, and Therese is currently in remission and has been improving and gaining strength. I hadn't seen her since she visited us at our workamping job in Minnesota in the summer of 2015.
We had plans to do some paddling, some walking, and perhaps hit some tennis balls around, but the weather turned cold and windy. So, we talked, went to dinner, had ice cream, and went bowling one afternoon. Linda & I were once on the Western Kentucky bowling teams, but we've only bowled maybe three or four times in the twelve years we've been on the road. We gave up our bowling balls and equipment long ago, and we were a bit rusty and don't like using "house balls". Nevertheless, I'm still competitive and wanted to bowl a 200 game. I came up just short at 197 for one game and scored much worse in the other two, but I averaged 174, and we had fun.
It was great spending three days with Therese, and we were able to provide her some advice regarding her thoughts on moving forward into the next chapter of her life. Love you Therese, and maybe we'll get to see you when you visit Washington in 2018. :)