Kathy and I have been friends for a very long time - she was one of my education professors in college (the only worth her salt, I might add), served as faculty advisor for our campus fellowship group, and even stood up in my wedding. Now I write for her ministry's email newsletter, and the girls and I have been to visit her in Texas several times. In fact, she's like a sister - so much so that my girls have always called her "Aunt Kathy."
Whenever we've been to Texas, Kathy has gone out of her way to show us a good time, chauffeuring us to a variety of sites and activities. And so, though Kathy used to live here, we wanted to return the favor as best we could.
On her first full day, we spent nearly three hours at the NEW Zoo, a real gem of a facility for our small metro area. Years ago, it began as a sort of nature preserve for animals native to the region, but is now accredited and boasts some impressive residents, including lions, giraffes, penguins, and a white alligator, in addition to many native species. Kathy had been there before several years earlier, and we visit once or twice a year, but we all enjoyed it as if it had been our first visit. And it counted as an educational field trip to boot!
The next day, we'd arranged to meet Kathy's mom's best friend, Betty, in Door County. Since Kathy's mom passed away two years ago, it meant a great deal to Betty that Kathy would come to see her - and that the girls and I would accompany her. And we had a delightful time, first enjoying lunch and custard at Not Licked Yet (one of the county's most famous establishments) and then taking a driving tour all the way up and then back down the beautiful peninsula.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of that evening's festivities - a gathering at my house of a small group of friends I like to call "Kathy's Krew" and their children. We adults had a blast talking and laughing while the children played outside, and then - even though the cool weather was hardly fit for it - we built big ice cream sundaes.
The next day was Kathy's final one with us on this trip. But we were thankful for beautiful weather and headed out to Mulberry Lane Farm, an interactive, educational farm we only recently discovered. We spent over three hours there as well - clocking another educational field trip in the process! - enjoying everything from holding (and chasing) the chickens to riding ponies and milking a cow to marveling at the huge pig to bouncing along on a tractor-pulled wagon ride. We first had a guided tour of the facility - our guide, Farmer Liz, was awesome - and then had free reign of the place for as long as we liked.
All good things must, unfortunately, come to an end. And so we dropped Kathy off at the airport early Sunday morning before heading to church. But now we have a great set of memories with her here, in addition to those from our times in Texas. And keeping Kathy busy definitely helped ease us through my husband's absence.