Monday, April 22, 2013

"A great time was had by all!"

A great time was had by all!!! That was the consensus from everyone present at Saturday's Fundraiser for Zack. The day which followed Friday's double blood transfusion, assuring Zack would be better protected.  A day that was filled with old friends and new friends. 

The weather couldn't be more perfect if we had "ordered" it! Friday was full of rain and overflowing rivers, we weren't sure what to expect and here, it was perfect! The view, breathtaking. The Pavillion was closed in on three sides and open in the front, overlooking a man made lake filled with ducks splashing around and entertaining the little ones. Picnic tables spread out around the grass for those who wished to take advantage of the warm sunlight and the smell of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs filled the air.

Six young men from Zack's old Boy Scout Troop 701, set up chairs, tables and did everything from parking duty, poster placement and  pouring drinks to trash collection and break down at the end. They were so eager to help and though I offered to sign off on community service hours, they all said "they were here for Zack and us!" It was especially touching when one of the younger Scouts, at my request,  led us all in the pledge of allegiance while standing in front of the two flags they had brought. 

Tables were set up inside with chips, beans, drinks and desserts. On the other side were tables filled with donated items for the silent auction. Three bands were present, each taking an hour set to play their own special music. "The Bishop Brothers" were a group of three men which Frank and his Brother Mitch had grown up with. They are as Southern Gentlemen as they come, with every sentence followed with "'Mam". Their voices blended in together in such harmony, you couldn't wait for the next song. There were several occasions to dance and Nancy, Jamie, Shawn and I took full advantage!! We didn't care who was there watching us, we were going to loosen up and have a great time!! There was plenty of dance floor and plenty of good music! At one point the band members father asked if I "two stepped." I said that I never had, "well, here we go then!" He took me all around the floor, teaching me the two step while his sons played and sang. I haven't laughed so much in a long time.

As people followed the bright red balloons that marked the long winding pathway, they were greeted by Jessica, (my associate and dear sweet friend from work) who would take their ticket and stamp a smiley face on their hand. Most of the time I was standing beside her to be the official "hugger." Nancy and Sue would walk around greeting folks and showing them where everything was, while thanking them for coming. Behind the grill was Doc Steve and another great friend Mike. They worked endlessly preparing all the food, which was then brought to Romona ( a long time friend from Boy Scouts) and Sue's friend Jennifer who was collecting food money and handing out desserts. Jamie stood by the silent auction items and  had a home for everything by the end of the party. 

The turnout was great! All of Zack's closest friends were there as they have always been, supporting him and making sure he was having a good time, which he did!! As I watched the picnic table where he choose  as his home base, there wasn't a time he wasn't surrounded. My routine when someone would ask about him was to point to him and smile. I would share the latest news, that he only has two more chemo treatments and is cancer free! Music to everyone's ears! Frank would be found milling around from one person to another. Not being one for small talk, he remained close to those he knew, friends, clients, business associates and family members. He almost didn't come, as he was embarrassed about the whole thing. "We were raised to pay our own bills and not ask for help!"  I would have to explain several times that this is more about Zack and our friends wanting to to do this for us. It is a celebration of the end of his treatments!! He did have a good time and was finally able to relax and appreciated all the effort and hard work that went into making this an amazing gathering. 

The Bishop Brothers
Frank conversing with several guests

Zack's shirt pretty much tells it all!
BFF Nancy and I with Boy Scout Will

Franks sister and brother, Jamie and Mitch
Several items offered for silent auction

Zack surrounded by friends
Landon leading us into pledge

Doc Steve and Mike M. "Chefs"
Mother in law (blonde) and guests

Three bands played! We had Dust n the Wynn,  two men who played and sang their original music. Moon Shine Babies with folk songs and the Bishop Brothers singing Blue Grass, older rock and roll, southern type music with lots of pep! At one point I looked at someone and said  "I need to have one of these bands just follow me through life, while I sit by the lake, go camping and whatever else we need to do. They can be my "backround music", just like in the movies. 

Mom stayed close to Linda, my mother in law. I had mentioned to her earlier that Mom couldn't hear and that made her very uncomfortable around large crowds. Linda immediately said "I'll keep her with me!" She has (as do all of my friends) a soft spot for Mom. Linda and Mom have an especially close bond, since they were both caretakers of their husbands for so many years. 

A reporter from the newspaper came out and told us that the local paper has decided to do a feature on Zack following his journey from the beginning to graduation. I told him that three kids in our small town have cancer and something good has to come out of all of this. I want to make sure that childrens cancer is getting the attention it needs. Breast cancer is getting a lot of attention, I understand how important that is, but no one seems to know much about childrens cancer and the lifelong effects it has on our kids. I also shared the importance of donating blood and platelets. I explained that Zack received two to four units of each a week and we don't know what we would do if the supply weren't there! He promised to help get my message across in the article. 

Franks sisters Jamie & Shawn with me
Friend Lawrel enjoying the weather

Nephew Curtis and I playing on stairs
Zack was surrounded by friends the entire day!!
Our master photographer "Mom"!

Troop 701 Boy Scouts 

long time friends
Larry & Debbie

The day was long and exhausting at the end. But the memories it created for us all, including those who came will last a lifetime  We are so grateful for who we have in our lives and wouldn't trade one of our friends for their weight in gold!!  Without the Love and Support this past year, I don't know where we would be! As Zack was pulling out of the parking lot to bring Mom home, I ran after the truck yelling for Mom. Zack stopped the truck, Mom opened her door and hugged me as I lay my head on her lap sobbing! I was finally able to release the pressure cooker inside of me. I'm not all the way there yet, but I am well on my way. I know, just as Mom has said, that I must give myself time to recover from all of this, but with each day Zack gets healthier and can again live his life in a normal way, so will we. 

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