Day 3 - Mesa
|Tuesday, December 25, 2018: Merry Christmas! We went to breakfast in the hotel wearing our pajamas and the food supervisor cheerfully asked us if we were twins. I told her we weren't but that Tom has an identical twin brother. She said that she had twin boys too and asked Tom if his brother looked like him. "Yes." She smiled and replied, "That's too bad." We laughed and laughed. Good for her for having fun even though she had to work on Christmas morning!
|We spotted a familiar scene on the wall next to us. The one on the right is from Antelope Canyon and we took the same photo on our visit to Arizona a year earlier.
|Then we drove back to Higley Avenue ...
|... and turned right into the condo community.
|There's the clubhouse where some of the residents would be sharing Christmas dinner later. We hung out at Bob and Becky's until Doug and Susan arrived, then we headed out for our own Christmas dinner.
|We went to Village Inn on McKellips. While we waited a few minutes for a table, we swooned over the beautiful pies in the display case.
|We had a delicious dinner. Some of us opted for the turkey dinner, complete with cranberry sauce. Here are Becky and Bob on one side of the curved booth, ...
|... and Susan and Doug on the other side.
|Just before leaving, Doug snapped a picture of us. Then Doug and Susan headed to the airport. We didn't know it at the time, but this would be our last Christmas with Bob, who died six months later.
|Before heading back to the condo, we drove past Debbie's friend Karen's address. She was out of town visiting family so we didn't get to see her this visit, but we did discover that her home was right next to a restaurant we've visited several times. Debbie sent her this photo and they exchanged several holiday messages.
|While having dinner, Debbie was giving Becky an update on her Normark relatives and suddenly realized that her aunt and uncle had moved to the Phoenix area a year ago. Meanwhile, her cousin Mark posted this pajama photo of her cousin David's family as a response to her matching pajama Facebook post. This set off a series of messages that resulted in plans to get together later in the evening.
|But first, we spent the afternoon chilling out on the patio. Literally chilling, because it was overcast and almost cold.
|Bob needed to get some work done in the study but then joined us when he was done.
|We had a nice visit with him and got a look at the community newsletter that he helps publish.
|We had an early dinner of tasty leftovers, ...
|... then hit the road because we had an hour-long drive ahead of us.
|We drove past a shiny Christmas light display, ...
|... through a tunnel, ...
|... past holiday-themed highway signs, ...
|... until we got to the northern part of Buckeye.
|This neighborhood is so new it doesn't exist yet on Google Streetview. Debbie's aunt and uncle moved into it just this year when it was built.
|We had a great time seeing everyone.
|Here's cousin David, ...
|... and there's Uncle Jon, cousin Mark, and cousin-in-law Sandra.
|Fourteen-month-old Catherine wasn't feeling well so she went to bed shortly after we arrived. We got to smile at her but forgot to take her picture. Trust us, she's a cutie. Here are her parents with some adorable math-themed outfits Catherine got for Christmas: A is for Acute Angle, B is for Bell Curve, and C is for Cube. Her mother has her doctorate in mathematics, after all.
|Here's Catherine's older brother, Jonathan, ...
|... and oldest brother, Ethan.
|Cousin Nancy wasn't there but she called during our visit, so Debbie got to surprise her by jumping on the call. We had already had a nice visit with Mark and her in April.
|When we arrived, Evelyn gave Debbie a tour of their gorgeous new home. Here's Evelyn getting ready to serve dessert in their beautiful kitchen in a large open layout just perfect for family gatherings.
|We promised not to stay very long, so we snapped a group photo and said our goodbyes by 8:00 PM so they could get back to their regularly-scheduled Christmas.
|On our way back, we passed through the areas that Debbie used to visit, dating back to when her grandparents first moved to Sun City in the early 1970s. Since then, her grandparents and great aunts lived in surrounding cities over the years: Sun City West, Peoria, and Surprise. The last of her relatives in that generation passed away eight years ago so there hadn't been a reason to come back until now.
We passed the shiny Christmas lights display on our way back to the hotel and got a better photo this time.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy