2013 Condensed

Two thousand and thirteen was memorable, to say the least. I will do my best to summarize the year in some paragraphs, enhanced by some favorite photos. (Click the image if you want to enlarge.) In the words of Rod Stewart, “Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It…” January started with wondering if my dad would be able to make the cross-country flight from San Diego to Orlando to accept the biggest award of his coaching career. He rallied.

Fireworks at Epcot Center, Hanna and her Grandpa 1/19/13
Fireworks at Epcot Center, Hanna and her Grandpa 1/19/13

A severe respiratory infection, combined with his age, did a number on him. Ralph did make the trip, but within a week after his return he was dramatically weaker. I wrote about the trip, of course, on my Orlando blog post.

One of my favorite photos from our Orlando trip reminds me of Hanna and her gramps watching the fireworks at Epcot.

I spent the month of February in San Diego with one goal: to make sure my dad, more weak and ill at that point, could stay in the home that he loved.

Enjoying an In ‘n Out milkshake. Dad loved that place and their shakes!

I am grateful beyond words for the chance to be with my dad during that time to have very honest conversations about family, life, and end of life. He lived a good life, he was appreciative for his good and full life, he knew he was loved by his family and friends, and he didn’t want his kids and grandkids to worry. Ralph learned more and more – from phone calls, letters, and emails – that he was a mentor and an example of an honorable person to many former athletes, friends, and acquaintances. For the most part, he felt fine; however, his body was shutting down. We lost him in May. We are all thankful to hospice. Karen took 10 of Ralph’s shirts to Sharp Hospice in San Diego and hospice volunteers made 10 memory bears for our family. Karen and I surprised our families with the bears shortly before Thanksgiving. What a cool thing they do for families!


A trip to Great Falls, MT, to celebrate my dad’s life was in early June. It was overwhelmingly positive, heartwarming, and rewarding in so many ways. A family reunion of sorts was joyful and fun. How Ralph would have enjoyed that! Having my kids by my side meant the absolute world to me. I miss him terribly, but not everyone gets to have their dad for so long. It’s been 20 years since our mom passed away.

Hanna teaching Charlie Victoria a few moves
Hanna teaching Charlie Victoria (Meggie’s) a few moves or vice versa!
Jordan with two 2nd cousins – Rylie (Meggie’s) and Fischer (Kevin’s)

How Ralph would love this group photo!


the happy couple, 7/27/13
the happy couple, 7/27/13

A Las Vegas wedding on July 27th was just what our sad hearts needed. Ralph adored his grandkids, there was no doubt about that, and he was happy last spring when Jordan and Becky told him they were engaged. 20131211-220419.jpgWe spent a few days in Vegas celebrating and witnessing our first born becoming a husband! Jordan and his bride, Becky, had a small chapel wedding with parents and some close family and friends in attendance. Their wedding reception at an Italian restaurant off the strip was probably Gary’s and my best memory. Hmmm, a favorite photo? Yeah, I made a Snapfish book of faves!

Hanna and her dad at the reception, checking out her recent pix
The bride and groom arriving at the reception
CA trip in October, Cin with Becky and Jordan
Santa Barbara day trip with Jord and Becky
Gary and I with my nephew Kevin and wife Lindsey, who live in L.A.

Gary and I planned a trip to Los Angeles to see Jordan and Becky in October, but when we booked the trip we didn’t know they would be moving to Phoenix, nor did they! We made the trip and helped them pack and move to Phoenix. Gary did much more than I because I had to get back to work. He drove the U-Haul to Phoenix and spent a few days with them. We did take a day to drive to Santa Barbara during the trip. What a great city. I can’t believe in all of my visits to CA that I never went to Santa Barbara.

IMG_0567-001Hanna’s boyfriend took some photos for us the day after Thanksgiving so we’d have some pix for our Christmas card. We have this little tradition going on of taking our Christmas picture in our neighbor’s back yard because 1) they have a super yard and we don’t (we rent a patio home); 2) they always leave town for Thanksgiving.IMG_0566


Biltmore Hotel. It was pouring rain, so we had to shoot a quick pic from the car.

I turned 60 last week. That’s right, 60… sounds much older than 59. Gary’s gift to me for the last three years is to send me away to be with Hanna for a weekend. The last two years we’ve stayed in Raleigh and did Christmas shopping. This year we drove across the state to Asheville. We stayed with my penpal from 4th grade, Janean, and her husband Bernie. They are perfect hosts and their mountain home overlooking Asheville is splendid. We packed lots of fun into our weekend and it was fun for Hanna to be around Janean and Bernie, who she had not seen since she was 9 years old!

At Cedric’s Tavern in Biltmore Village, Dec. 2013. Cedric was apparently a popular Vanderbilt family dog. Food is excellent here, by the way.
Grove Park Inn, Asheville. Another 60th birthday dinner – this time with Hanna and Janean who I “met” through letters starting in 4th grade. The first time we met was at my wedding; she was my maid of honor in 1972.
Hanna is a super fun traveling companion. This was her first time to Asheville and I knew she’d love it. It was cold, but it’s so beautiful here. View from Janean and Bernie’s deck.
Jord and Becky the night before they married.
Gary with Remy, New Bern, NC, 2012
Gary with Remy, New Bern, NC, 2012, a lovely town on the river not far from us

Life is good for us (and our dog, Remy) in North Carolina. Retirement agrees with Gary and I’ll be able to retire from the NC State Employee system and East Carolina University in March, 2015. We are narrowing down our choices of where to buy our retirement home. It will be in one of the Carolina’s, probably N.C., closer to the mountains. We have lots of fun on our weekend and day trips, and Gary takes very good care of me so that I can be a productive 8-5 employee at ECU! We feel very fortunate to have the life that we do. Neither of us would have imagined 10 years ago that we’d be in N.C.

Jordan and Becky are happy and their move to Phoenix is bringing good things to their lives. Jordan is a writer for Netflix and gets to work from his home office in Phoenix. Our daughter-in-law is President of her own company, a subsidiary of a family business. We are very proud of her and we enjoy hearing about her role as an entrepreneur.

Beach time, Mike & Hanna
Beach time, Mike & Hanna

Hanna changed companies in November, and is still a pediatric Speech and Language Pathology Assistant. She loves what she does. Hanna is also in love, so life in Raleigh is wonderful for her. We’re glad her beau, Mike, is in her life (and ours).

Gary and I have adult children, but they will always be our kids. The two pix below remind us of that. We got a kick out of these when we saw them!

Jordan and their goofy little hound, Mona. We love them.
Hanna preparing for a Color Run. Wow. That’s our girl.

5 thoughts on “2013 Condensed

  1. gary and cindy, what a nice family you have, it was nice to get to know them better,,,,you two have been busy in your travels, I would like that, Jeannie on the other hand is happy to stay in billings and look after our two grand kids, both boys (kale 2 and Collin 4),,they are all boys…think of you often, sounds like you will be making your home in the south east when the time arrives….be good to yourselves….phil

  2. You are one talented girl! I read last night and cried and read today again and cried. Hope to see you again next year! My friends have already asked if I’m going with them to VA. We’ll see! Love you, Colleen Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 06:51:33 +0000 To: kcfebach@msn.com

  3. I loved reading this and enjoyed the photos. Yes, we miss Dad but have wonderful memories. He wouldve loved our reunion- so nice to see so many friends snd family. He sure was a pistol, wasn’t he? Love, Vicky

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