You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is the final chapter of one of THOSE stories.
They talk late into the evening, about dogs and kids and favorite stories from the Open Group page. The next morning after coffee and some peach bread, her simple offering of thanks for gracious hospitality, they set out in a small caravan towards Cambridge. After passing through Saratoga Springs, still bursting with activity of races and weddings, they agree to let their own GPS directions be their guides. This gives her a chance to grab a few roadside photos which ever so slightly appeases the ghost of the missed Adirondack foothills sunset moment of the previous evening. She also has time to checkout the Cambridge Farmers Market, where she is seriously tempted to buy a pair of alpaca wool socks for Jon Katz. Its a reference to a running joke in Open Group. She settles for a loaf of sour dough bread from the RoundHouse Cafe Bakery stand with some local jam to serve as lunch, then drives north towards Bedlam Farm. She notices her heart is fluttering. It is not far and she is one of the first to arrive. She is greeted by Pearl one of the original Bedlam Farm dogs who now lives with Jon’s daughter Emma. Soon Lenore comes over and sitting with these two dogs is a cherished moment. They are a direct connection to Rose, whose story is her favorite of Jon’s books. More Open Group members arrive and there are introductions and hugs and stories. She wanders around, absorbing every joyful moment. There are donkey talks with Simon, Lulu and Fanny, Fran’s wonderful miniature gardens, Maria’s studio filled with her amazing scarves, whimsical potholders and pincushions, the much photographed dahlia garden. Jon notices her pirate bandanna and takes a few moments to show her his Jewish Pirate emblem tatoo. Mary Kellogg gives an inspiring and moving talk about encouragement and the boldness of publishing as an older woman. Mary reads a poem that speaks of choices. She hears the line of “making a ripple,” when others merely sit and feels these words open a big door for her. A group photo is taken, which she is grateful for, knowing it will serve as proof this afternoon was not just a surreal dream. “A dream come true,” a fellow Group Member says as they stand along the fence watching as Jon and Red do their sheep herding demonstration. Rose would have been a joy to see, but Red! Oh Red! It is an ethereal experience to watch his powerful, graceful outruns, to feel the intensity of his focus as it directs even rebellious Zelda’s movements. She notices she is not the only one with tears in her eyes. They smile at each other and the realization hits her. Things happened for a reason; the previous car trouble, the delayed trip, the time of waiting gave her this moment to be shared with old friends who have just met. From this moment “she” has become one of “us.”