When I started this series of post I talked about extreme highs and extreme lows of the emotional roller coaster, that I’ve been on over the last several weeks. My Facebook friends already know about my new relationship. Whereas a few weeks ago the new love in my life “Linda Yaeger” and I announced our commitment to each other. After losing my best friend and my wife Sonia 12 years ago, at the young age of 53. (“We had been together for 35 years and I thought I may not ever find love again.”) Everyone needs a little background on this relationship. It started over two years ago when Linda’s and my very good friend Kelly Murray offered to introduce us to each other. (Linda had lost her husband Jim about four years ago suddenly.) Kelly and Linda have been very good friends for a long time, dating back to when they both lived in their home state of New Jersey. Kelly had talked about me to Linda and had showed her my blog. Linda had read a few posts. For some reason “I’m not sure why she seemed interested in what I may have to offer”. And she told Kelly that she wouldn’t mind meeting me sometime, if it was possible. (Or maybe Kelly just figured she should meet me, I’m not sure which is true.) At that time Linda was getting ready to go full-time RVing herself. She was selling her house and downsizing and making plans to hit the road in about a year. Kelly and Bill were helping her get ready for the full-time lifestyle. I had met Kelly and Bill back in 2014 at a RV-Dreams rally. And Kelly and I had hit it off right away. Over the next several years we had reconnected on the road several times. And that brought us to January 2018, when I was spending the winter in Georgia volunteering at Hamburg State Park. That January I had drove down to the Tampa area to visit my good friends Patti and Steve, who were volunteering at a park in Florida. I reached out to Kelly and Bill who were also in the area, to see about getting together, so the five of us got together for a visit. That was the day that Kelly told me about Linda, she felt we had a lot in common. She had showed me a picture of her and asked if I would want to meet her sometime. I said sure not figuring that it would probably ever happen. Fast forward almost 2 years to December 2019. Each year when Kelly and Bill are in Florida, Kelly puts together a RV-Dreamer’s winter picnic in the Tampa area, for whoever wants to come. At the time I was still in Georgia at Hamburg Park till the end of December. It was about a 6-hour drive to where the picnic was. I thought about taking a couple days and going down and seeing people that I haven’t seen in quite a while and meeting some new people. Plus, Kelly had told me that Linda was going to be there and I figured this was my opportunity to finally meet her in person. We were introduced and talk some off and on throughout the day. But both of us were busy with others and never really got to know each other that well. But we did make plans to meet up in January when we were both going to be in in the same area near Bushnell, Florida. January came around and we did get together three times but were never alone with each other, we always had company with us. At the time Linda was making her way slowly westward to Twentynine Palms, California where her daughter lives. We did keep in touch through messages and phone calls not sure when we meet up again. I was in Florida till spring and Linda had arrived in Southern California in March. We had talked about connecting up sometime in 2020 as we were both going to be on the West Coast most of the year. At that time in spring neither of us were thinking this would really go anywhere other than friends. In matter of fact Linda told me she didn’t think, I was really interested in her in a romantic way. Neither of us were really looking for a committed relationship. But both of us felt if it was right, we would know. After being married for years, and at our ages. We both felt we knew what we wanted out of life and a relationship. And “if and when” it would happen to come along we would know. Fast-forward again a couple months to July 18. As you all know my plans have change drastically this year several times. When the opportunity came for me to volunteer here at Hensley Lake. Part of the deciding factor was that I knew I would only be a couple hours, from where Linda is staying till the end of August. So, I had hoped this would give us the opportunity to finally get to spend some one-on-one time together and really get to know each other. I arrived here on July 10, and Linda had arrived on 1st of July where she is staying. We had been in touch throughout the year and finally had our true first date on Saturday July 18th. As dates go it’s the kind, we both really like. I came over to visit her at Sequoia Resort and RV Park where she is staying. And the three of us Linda, Maxine and myself jumped in my convertible and went up into Sequoia National Park for a day of sightseeing. We drove through the park visiting and getting to know each other enjoying the beautiful sites.
Our first destination was Hume Lake. A beautiful little lake right in the park. Linda had been up here the week before and went kayaking and swimming and said how nice it was. Of course, Maxine had a get right it the water, like always. And it was great, we all went for a swim. The lake is formed by this small “over 100-year-old dam”. After refreshing swim, we drove around the park to see some of the giant trees, which I had never seen before.
Here Maxine posed with Linda, I think she’s giving her stamp of approval.
She already had my stamp of approval; I think she’s gorgeous even though she doesn’t think she takes a good picture.
That evening we went back to her place and she made me great dinner and we spent the evening talking and getting to know each other better. We made plans to go back to the park on Sunday, and called it a night. The next morning after a great breakfast “Linda is a great cook”. We were off to the park again to visit The General Sherman Tree. You had to hike affair ways down the hill to get the see it.
All of a sudden Linda realized she had lost her phone and we went into all-out search mode. We had no luck finding, it had contacted some rangers and no luck there either. We did do some more sightseeing, but the loss of the phone put a damper on the day. We made the best of it anyways; we did drive to one spot where you can drive under this great big tree.
We went back to her place, and use my phone and tablet to put in a request to the parks lost and found. By then it was quite late and Linda convinced me to stay another night which I gladly did. I insisted that she keep my tablet, so she would have contact with her daughter and me until we figured out whether she was going to get her phone back. Plus, this way I knew she had to see me again LOL. The next morning, I got up really early so I could get back to the park by seven to start my morning shift on Monday. Over the next few days, she did her best to track down the phone with no luck. She ended up going into Fresno, to the visit the Verizon store and make arrangements to get a new phone. Fresno is only about a half hour from my place so she came over to visit me. She found out she could get a phone through her insurance and they would ship it to my PO Box, that I have in Fresno. It was Friday afternoon by the time we got everything taken care of. We had hopes that it would have showed up Monday morning, but it didn’t get here until Tuesday. All of this was working out great for me because I got to keep her around and winner over with my cooking and entertaining. We did go kayaking and swimming while she was here, even though she doesn’t like yourself in this picture I think she looks very happy to be with. Tuesday the phone arrived while I was working in the morning, and we both headed to Fresno to pick it up. We said our goodbyes with plans for me to come visit her at her place on Friday. At the park that Linda is staying at there are a whole bunch of wild blackberry bushes, and she had been picking them for weeks already. She is a blackberry picking fool, and jumps right into the patch as you can see in these photos.
So, she convinced me that Saturday morning it would be fun to go picking berries with her. Me still trying to win her over agreed. Picking wild blackberries can be a dirty and painful experience. You get berry juice all over your hands.
And the thorns can scratch you up pretty good this is not berry juice on my arm.
Or on my legs.
But the rewards were worth it we got a couple baskets full. Yes I did have fun! I claim that the fullest basket was the one I picked, lol. (that may not be true)
The three jars in front of the baskets of berries, are jam that we made the night before from berries she had picked on Friday before I got there. One other bonus we got to see was this beautiful butterfly while we were picking the berries.
We also got nine more jars of jam from this batch of berries.
Let it be known that Linda also has her battle wounds from picking berries. She has scratches on her arm and legs, from the many times she has gone berry picking over the last several weeks. Here’s a photo of her arm. At some point over the last several weeks, we decided that we were no longer just friends. But were in a committed relationship and going to figuring out how to make this work. So, on August 2, Linda put this photo on Facebook with the caption. “Out for an afternoon drive in my honey’s convertible”. Doesn’t she look happy, “I know I am”. I guess so far, I’ve done everything right and have won her over, “lucky me”. That’s it for this post. In the next post I will cover the super low point of the last several weeks. So, stay tuned till next time & Best Wishes to All, Rick