The Inn at Meander Plantation…Locust Dale, Virginia
Thank you to Martha L. Shaw for asking me to participate in her “I am Astonished with Delight Challenge”! These types of challenges cause me to look back in time…and absorb memories again. Sort of like the lyrics to the song “Try to Remember”, my delightful time took me happily back in time:
Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and grain was yellow
Try to remember the kind of September when you were a tender and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember then follow…
My time to be “Astonished with Delight” did not happen in September or even in October, but that does not make any difference. The song still works!
I actually first met an incredibly special friend in early September way back when I was in college. She is the important subject of my delightful surprise. Suzanne! My best friend in college and most likely the most fun and most smart and most successful person that I know…then and now. We both were journalism majors and naturally met in one of those classes. We joined the same service sorority. We both were on the college newspaper staff. Our families were similar and we were brought up very much alike. We were friends immediately.
That friendship has lasted for over 45 years. When we first graduated from college, we worked for the same newspaper in my hometown. Oh my! What fun times we had. We had some escapades…that is for sure!
Suzanne was with me when I first met my husband. In fact, it was a date that she and his cousin confidently put together…without my knowledge. One morning, just moments after I arrived at work, they told me that they had the perfect boyfriend for me. His cousin had seen him at a family reunion the past weekend. As soon as she started talking to him, she thought about me…why? I really don’t know. Anyway, I said absolutely not! I did not want to go on a date with someone I didn’t know! It didn’t matter what I said, they had the date set up by the time I arrived back after lunch.
I was really sort of furious, but I didn’t want to back out. It would not be particularly nice. By late afternoon, the two who were determined to find me a new boyfriend somehow produced a picture of HIM. Well… hmmm… maybe I might better be finding a better attitude. Suzanne just happened to be going to Fort Worth that very weekend… to visit a friend at TCU. HE (the date) lived in Fort Worth. On Friday afternoon, we drove to Fort Worth and I met HIM. Funny thing…on the way back home on Sunday, I announced to Suzanne that I was certain that I was going to marry HIM. We were married one year and seven months later. This coming Sunday, we will celebrate 40 years of marriage!
Suzanne was my Maid of Honor in our wedding. She and the other attendants looked so beautiful in their mauve/ peach colored dresses. Suzanne was totally involved in helping my mother and I plan the wedding. In fact, she beaded the bride’s book because my mother broke her arm a month before the wedding. I even had Suzanne to drive out to the reception location the afternoon of the wedding. I was so worried that the bakery would drop the cake before setting it up on the table. She does not remember the cake errand at all. There is no telling what else I asked her to do.
After I was married and moved to Fort Worth, Suzanne was offered a newspaper position in Louisiana and later another position in Chicago. She eventually became the publisher for 15 suburban newspapers in Chicago. What a career! After growing tired of the weather, she and a close friend decided to purchase a historical home and acreage in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. After renovation, they opened the Inn at Meander Plantation…an elegant Bed & Breakfast, a wonderfully beautiful large home with beautiful grounds.
Suzanne and Suzie were very busy establishing their business and we were busy raising two children and working and going to soccer games, etc! However, we saw each other a very few times. We kept in touch. We had epic telephone talks, we wrote letters. After the arrival of the internet… we emailed, we talked via Facebook.
I always told our daughter about my unique friendship with Suzanne…so that she would feel like she knew her. Also, so that she would realize the importance of keeping lifelong friends…and she has. On Mother’s Day two years ago, our daughter surprised me with a “girl trip” for just us…to visit Suzanne in Virginia! I was totally “Astonished with Delight”!
Our trip was the best trip! It was as if Suzanne and I had lived in the same city for years and years…like we saw each other every day or so. More than that, she and our daughter were instant friends. Their conversations lasted for hours. We laughed, we visited wineries, we enjoyed gourmet dinners at the Inn’s restaurant, we were amazed at the delicious breakfast offerings, we drove to the Shenandoah National Park, we visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello… we absolutely just enjoyed being together.
In our fast moving world, it seems like friendships can be so fleeting. People move across the country and close ties are lost somewhere along the way. However, my special friendship with Suzanne is the forever kind. I am still amazed that our daughter chose to give me the best Mother’s Day present ever…to surprise me with the gift of togetherness! Delightful, for sure!
Suzanne at the Inn at Meander Plantation