I haven’t had a lot of time to blog so far this summer.
Granted, with all of my careers rocking and rolling I don’t have much time in general but these past 3 months I have been fortunate enough to get to spend quality time with a lot of really great friends.
I’m reflecting on this as I write today after 2 special friends have recently departed this world and they both have left tremendous holes in the hearts of their loved ones. One is a man, the other is a dog.
But I’ll get to that later.
Because, and we all know it, life is too short.
In June I dragged Jockey and Martini back to Bismarck for 2 full weeks of coaching, visiting, appointment-ing and helping hubby get his toe amputated. This was all on the heels of getting a fun listing to closing after my clients-who-became-friends flipped their adorable little log home here in Seeley Lake. This was also right after my first dinner party, which included said friends from Arkansas and it was a success!
Getting Alistair’s Covid-toe removed was a huge priority this year and The Man hasn’t looked back. Covid-toe is a thing. Its painful and yucky and it has been a huge source of discomfort for close to 2 years so, just like that, the toe is gone.
He hobbled around for a few days but, thankfully, he hasn’t looked back!
And we got going with some fun connections with our peeps in Bismarck.
Like supper with Morgan and Mike. Morgie is like our second daughter. We’ve known her since she and Whitney became besties in grade 2 back in Watford City. Our friendship is so natural and the laughter was as genuine as always. We also got to see their beautiful new home that they have put their hearts and souls into creating. How incredible to see young people become the grown-ups they’ve dreamed of being!
Then I got to share lunch with the lovely Schmidt ladies, Leanna and Linda. Leanna was one of the figure skating talents in my barn when I coached an elite group of skaters in Bismarck years ago. When training and competing at such a high level the coach becomes part of the family and our friendship has stayed strong all of these years. We three reminisced about our coach friend, the late Russ Salter, who died just a few years ago. Again, life is too short.
Leanna is another young woman who has worked hard to achieve her goals and she became a dedicated nurse this year! I couldn’t be more proud of her! I’m sure she saw me tear up a little bit when she told me how much our friendship meant to her, even long after she put her skates away. It goes both ways, Leanna!
Proving once again how close my skating families are to me was the fun lunch date Alistair and I shared with Gary and Elaine Markwart. Their daughter, Andrea, was my student back in the day and I haven’t seen them since her wedding back in 2018. We picked up right where we left off and shared fun stories about snowmobiling, our kids having kids, life in Montana and hot cars.
And then I was back to western Montana to try to make sense out of the calendar that was July.
It started wonderfully with some friends from Canada making the trek to Montana.
One of my oldest, bestest friends and I are very familiar with the whole, “life is too short” thing. We lost one of our closest gang from the old days to breast cancer a couple of years ago and that just sucks. I’m so thankful that Lei-Anne, Chris, Dozer and Finley drove for hours to spend a couple of days catching up on the Fyfe Farm with me.
We caught up around the kitchen table and in the living room with great food, yummy wine and the Canadian Classic that I started whipping up for Canada Day- Nanaimo Bars. Its a bit of a process to make the 3-layered dessert but the gang at the vet clinic, the real estate office crew and Alistair’s nursing staff (and Chris) all vouch that its worth it.
Right after my friends hit the road I buzzed into town for our Clearwater Montana Properties’ part in the town’s 4th of July parade. The storm clouds held off and Seeley Lake had the biggest parade (and attendance) its had in a long time!
A couple of weeks after that, Alistair and I attended a benefit auction for Swan Valley Connections. We were invited by one of our closest friends, Christian, who owns Holland Lake Lodge, where the event was held. I made a new friend on that beautiful afternoon when Finn got a full set of my books in the silent auction. It was fun signing them and talking with him and his mom about Finn’s aspirations as a writer, too!
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I was hanging out, smiling, laughing and taking pictures with my Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic gang at our boss, Shannon’s wedding. It was a gorgeous day and my gang looked as hawt as ever.
I treasure the fact that my co-workers are a part of my tribe. We’ve shared laughter and crazy stories and we’ve shared tears and hugs together as well. They put up with my dancing (I think some of them secretly want to join in) and me saying, “Can you take my picture with this puppy?” or, “Is this okay to share on socials?” throughout the Tanya Tuesdays I work with them and I like being everyone’s big sister. It isn’t every day you actually want to hang out with the people you spend your work-days with.
Somewhere in all of this we added a furry new friend to Fyfe Life. Enter Whiskey Drambuie Fyfe, an adorable little waif who was found/fostered by one of our vet techs, Brandie. I thought Martini, the one-eyed Siamese wanted a little brother. It seemed like a great idea at first!
It took at least a week for the hissing and growling to stop once Whiskey made his debut at home.
Jockey is fine with him but Martini had her issues. She doesn’t growl at him as much anymore, thankfully, and I’ve actually caught them playing together. (I’m telling myself the boxing matches are them playing…) I’m trying to tell her the value of having some great friends in your life as this is something I am really appreciating this summer.
I was able to make a last-minute trip back to Bismarck early in August specifically to see longtime close friends who were facing a medical crisis of sorts. I am so thankful for our cat-sitters for caring for the barn duo. The two Jessie’s are so appreciated and I’ve been able to tell them that these last two days. Our time in Bismarck together with our friends will forever be remembered and cherished.
We made time to hang out with the hockey boys for supper in North Dakota and even convinced the two Chrises to hit golf balls with us on a very hot day out at Painted Woods. They can both hit the shit out of a golf ball. It would be equally impressive if they could hit it straight! We enjoyed ourselves so much that we’ve vowed to do it again and Volk had to agree that life is too short to not make time to have some fun on a golf course with friends.
During that same trip we got Brad Bossort out to Painted Woods for the front 9 on another warm day. The Bossorts had us out for supper at their lovingly renovated home on the river and it was another evening of reminiscing and laughter.
We then road tripped back to Montana for back-to-back fundraiser golf tournaments. The Missoula Organization of Realtors put on another solid event this year and we got to tee it up with Scott and Darlene. We’ve golfed with them before and our games and sense of humor are all well-suited. It was a memorable, albeit hot day and we played some good golf!
That night we were joined by Paige, Richmond and Jazz Champion before the Charlie Wolff Memorial Tournament in Seeley Lake. Jazz was completely mesmerized by little Whiskey and Whiskey even slept in the guest room with them!
The golf tournament the next day was absolutely hilarious and we finally connected Richmond with Kyle Huestis. We correctly predicted their bromance and they were already hugging after 9 holes. We actually scrambled well together and put up a good score! The best part of all was the constant jabs, cheerleading and laughter.
2 days later we hosted 4 figure skater friends from Canada on their way to an adult skating camp in Salt Lake City. I grew up skating with Julie and Sarah but it was the first time meeting Nikita and Jen. Whiskey and Martini stole the show. Almost everyone went to bed after hours of visiting and kitten-cuddling but Julie and I stayed up with Alistair later and had the catch-up we truly needed after so many years apart. Social media is wonderful for seeing your friends and keeping up with their interests, relationships and lives but there is nothing like hugging a special friend from the past.
I’ve seen several friends the past few weeks for a variety of reasons (including pet care) like Kerry and Mark, Susan and Gail, Sharon and Randy, Pat W, Cassy S, Kim G, and Jessica and Brandon and I’ve amazingly had time for lunch with Jessi and Lydia. I’ve also got to see Joel and Jeanette (our ferret co-parents) when we’ve broken into their house for ferret visitation!
And Alistair got to spend time this past week celebrating the life of one of the special spirits who has left us with friends and neighbors we’ve known and cared about for many, many years. And Alistair joined me in helping two friends who we love dearly say goodbye to their special canine spirit who I’ve known for years.
My heart hurts for the family members left behind because you never really get enough time with the ones you love. I have cried with them and held hands and wanted different outcomes for both Kim and Wanda and even just one more visit together would have been nice. There is so much more that should or could be said but I am going to leave it at that.
Because life is too short.
Alistair is about 30 minutes from home and we are looking forward to a sleep-in morning tomorrow and an afternoon of golf. We are pet-sitting the lovely Jazz Champion right now and it has been incredible watching her and Whiskey expand upon their own unique friendship. (Martini is cool with Jazz. Not cuddly, but cool.)
Enjoy the irony of Labor Day and maybe start becoming okay with telling your friends you love them. I am so, so, SO fortunate to know and love so many people in my many walks of life. I am wealthy in friendships, indeed!