Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA! Visiting with the Happy Harpers in Denver, Colorado!

Monday, October 1, 2012

OLA! Visiting with the Happy Harpers in Denver, Colorado!

Carol sharing Brian Battisone's N (for natural) 2-handled racket
Last Thursday we drove our little Saturn from Pittsburg, Kansas to Denver, Colorado to visit Suzanne, Bill’s smart and pretty second child and first daughter. She has been living in Denver with Dean, her husband, and their two kids since 2001 after stints in Shreveport, Louisiana, Boston, Massachusetts, and West Pueblo, Colorado. Because it was a 14-hour drive, we stopped midway at Salina, Kansas where we stayed at a motel having left the RV in Pittsburg. We will return there after our visits.
Bill playing with his grandkids @ neighborhood basketball court
They have two kids, Devin, 13, and Cassie, 11 who are actually my BPPs (best perpetual playmates)! We saw them in July of last year at our reunion in Yellowstone National Park with Jim’s (Bill’s eldest and only son) family. I had been told that Devin has grown so fast and is now taller than I am! Cassie might also no longer be the cute baby I doted on when I met her 5 years ago. She might now be a pretty little lady! My worries turned into joy the minute I saw them. And Bill was overjoyed.
Devin and Cassie's tennis medals
The Harpers are a tennis family. Dean’s team went to Nationals in Arizona last year, and his and Suzanne’s teams are going to Districts next month. Cassie’s team won the state girl’s 12 and under championship this year. Devin’s team also went to state.  He won all three of his matches, but his team did not make it to the finals.  Devin has accumulated so many medals already.  They have all fed my thirst for my spectator sport, live! I dream of watching them compete in ATP and WTA tourneys. 
Taylor Dent in action at the Colorado Open 
The night of our arrival we went straight to the Colorado Open where Dean was playing in the doubles quarterfinals. Taylor Dent, former #21 in the world, was also playing. And the awesome thing was that the famous tennis player Brian Battistone who is popularizing the use of two-handled rackets, posed with me after he won their doubles match. Around 1,500 have been sold of these N-brand rackets and he helped design it because he believes it is the natural way to play!
Dean ready to hit the oncoming ball
Mt. Evans Outdoor Lab for kids
The following day we went to the Outer Lab Education System in Evergreen, Colorado where Cassie will be for a week in April next year as part of their curriculum. The Mt. Evans facility has everything from an astronomy center, an archery gallery, a fishing center, an outdoor amphitheater, a dining lodge, and the bunkhouses. It really was interesting to compare the level of facilities American students have. Parents even have the entire grading system online and can check it any time since it is upgraded frequently.
The guys with Elvis
Saturday night was time for board games like Mexican Train dominoes and Bananagrams (like speed scrabble). Sunday morning we all went to mass and had leftover pancit bijon and pizzas for lunch. For dinner, we had slow-cooked chicken tandoori tikka. Then it was time to go to movies at The Elvis Theater! The Amazing Spiderman won for the guys and me while Suzanne and Cassie went to Madagascar 3. Fun night…too bad the next day was back to school for the kids!
Suzanne with Bella and Chester
So Monday and Tuesday were surely quieter with just the dogs who were taking a little more time to adjust to Bill being around the house. I guess I was small enough to be tolerated! But Chester played ball with me a lot! Since I am definitely NOT a morning person, on Monday Bill took the kids to school with Suzanne. When they came back, Bill and I went to Ballys Fitness Center which we have not had the chance to do since Orlando, Florida last December.
Devin practicing his shots
Monday night was another Mexican Train dominoes night after a delicious Italian sausage and mushroom pasta to die for. We got to watch Devin practice tennis the following day at The Ranch Golf and Country Club where they are members. Dinner was slow cooked pork loin with creamy mushroom gravy. Then we heard and saw sweet Cassie play such beautiful songs on her violin, after only a year of instruction! 
Cassie, pretty with her violin
But it was really getting down to the wire. Visits with family are nice pauses from our hectic travels. But we had to leave Wednesday morning to head on to Jim’s place in Boise, Idaho. Sad, but we will be back!!! See you again with the Happy Harpers of Colorado in April 2013!