Good Food and Great Friends

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One of my family’s favorite activities is a candlelit dinner. The dinners aren’t necessarily about the food but about the great conversation that typically happens during a meal. While visiting California, Corey set up a bunch of dinners so we could see old friends and meet new ones.

Dinners have become a little bit difficult for me because I’m having trouble swallowing and because my fingers, hands and arms are weak which makes it hard to feed myself. So for some reason I get a little nervous or maybe a little self-conscious about my disabilities during meals, though I know I shouldn’t because friends and family don’t care and are so willing to help.

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Our first dinner on the trip was with one of my best friends from high school, Nancy Mingle Bates, and her husband Michael. We dined outside at a beautiful oceanside restaurant near San Luis Obispo, California. We all ordered fish and chips which was a relief to me because I could pick it up with my fingers rather than using a knife and fork which is difficult for me to do.

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Our second dinner was at Bevan and Corey’s house. They invited José Cisneros and Mark Kelleher over for pasta. At the start of dinner Corey poured me an inch of wine in a light plastic cup because it was easier for me to lift. The meal started with appetizers and without hesitation our friend Mark offered to put crab dip on a chip for me, which made it easy for me to eat. During the course of the meal I started to choke a little so I walked away from the table. Everyone casually kept talking while Mark and Corey helped me get back to normal and return to the table. No one made a big deal out of it, they just acknowledged it and kept talking. My speech is also slowing down, but everyone listened attentively with patience as I told my stories. The dinner conversation was lovely and I ended the night feeling as though I had climbed a mountain.

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On Tuesday of last week Ronnie Matthews, one of Bryan’s best friends from St. Michael’s Elementary, drove three hours from Fresno to visit us in San Francisco. Mark had to run an errand for part of the day so he left Ronnie and I alone to venture out to get something to eat. Ronnie was so protective and gently held my hand as we walked to the restaurant. It felt so good to see the boy I’ve known since he was very little grow up into such a beautiful, kind and gentle young man.

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That same night we hosted our nephew Christopher and another Muskegon friend Deborah Ferguson and her boyfriend Adam who all currently live in San Francisco. Deborah and Adam brought food, wine and dessert to make our dinner easier for us. They were all very helpful and understanding. I hadn’t seen Christopher since I was diagnosed, so when he saw me walk for the first time he immediately got up and hugged me tight as if to say “I’m sorry.”

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The last two dinner parties were hosted by Peter and Maureen Keller who flew in from Vancouver, Washington to visit their daughter Kari and to meet us. Corey and Kari became great friends while working at Square and were excited for their families to get to know one another.

Kari’s parents arrived in San Francisco around 2:00pm on Thursday, bought groceries, cooked a meal and hosted a fabulous spaghetti dinner at 7:00pm. Kari invited friends Marc and his wife Marlowe, Adam and his girlfriend Chris and Beth to join us. Mark and I met all of these wonderful people last year and were anxious to see them again, even though I was a little nervous. But during the course of dinner everyone offered to help and made me feel very comfortable. While having dinner I got a little messy because of my lack of coordination and Mark said I had a little spaghetti on my face. Chris was sitting next to me and immediately helped me clean my face like it was no big deal.

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On our last night in San Francisco we went to a popular restaurant called Bar Tartine to try to see Mary and Charlie Fritz’s daughter Molly. Bevan was sitting close to me and cut up my food and served me. By now I am beginning to feel comfortable with people helping me.

After dinner we headed to Easy Breezy for dessert and by the end of our evening I was tired and my arms felt heavy so my right arm dropped while eating my frozen yogurt. Corey picked up my spoon and fed me my last few bites. When I was finished I said to him, “We’ve come full circle.”

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Our San Francisco trip was different this time than last but awesome anyway thanks to all of the wonderful people we saw. Mark and I won’t be so nervous to venture out next time because everything turned out better than we could have imagined.

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11 thoughts on “Good Food and Great Friends

  1. Rosemary, You continue to inspire me so. Loved seeing the beautiful adventure you are taking. I cannot wait to touch you to catch a whisper of my daughter off you. Love you.

  2. Rosemary and Mark. First welcome back and Next , thank you for sharing your daily news. In hearing how you and those who love you are dealing with your daily struggles helps us all in realizing how we can be of assistance to you and others dealing with ALS. Your generosity in sharing what may be difficult or embarrassing is a godsend to others in understanding this condition. You are two of the bravest people I know and it is such a privilege to call you friend! It would be such a compliment should you ever call upon me for assistance in any way. There is a community of people who love you and who are grateful to have you in our lives! Welcome home!

  3. You are climbing mountains every day. And you make it look easy! Thank you for offering so many wonderful life lessons. Love you!

    1. What a wonderful explanation of what life is all about!! We all are learning through Rosemary’s beautiful, wholesome, heartfelt descriptions of each daily “hurdle!”

  4. What wonderful friends and family you have Rosemary. I’m so glad they take such great care of you. Your pictures are beautiful —– I’m very jealous. San Francisco is an awesome place. My prayers are that you will continue to enjoy your trip, make lasting mamories, and have safe travels as you return home.

  5. The way Corey is looking at you in this picture is priceless.. ,
    I have learned so much through reading your blogs. Your an amazing,amazing women.
    Thank -you from the bottom of my heart.

  6. You’re such a wonderful person and it’s because of that makes you so very special. I’m so happy to read today’s blog about your fun time out west with Cory you deserve it as does that sweet husband of yours! Both of you are awesome!

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