Thirteen weeks turned into a year and as the holidays and seasons came and went, Lisa and I stayed. Cambridge, Ohio has been our home since last May and now it is, finally, time to leave. Lisa and I will be pulling out of ‘Spring Valley Campground’ this Saturday and are looking forward to being home for a couple of weeks before we head west to Kingman, Arizona where Lisa will begin a thirteen week assignment June first. We have friends in Kingman and in nearby Las Vegas and the opportunity to return to a familiar place was too good to pass up. But, first things first. It is time for some sad good-byes.
As I have written before, it is not the places as much as it is the people and friends we have made that make our traveling experiences memorable. We forget most of the specific aspects of the various locations, but we never forget the people and our friends. That is the hardest part of traveling – missing the people.
We will miss Lisa’s co-workers at the hospital. The first day Lisa arrived for work she was handed the keys, a beeper and the news that the only other echo-tech had just quit and she was all they had. Those first couple of weeks were not easy and in many ways this was the toughest assignment Lisa has had to date. She worked to help hire and train new staff and leaves the department in better shape than it was that day she arrived. The staff at Southeastern Medical have been welcoming to Lisa and myself and are now fully staffed and well equipped to move forward. We will miss Kelly (the big ol’ doody head) and her dogs “Shit and Shinola” (we could never remember their real names or tell them apart). We will miss our trips to her house in Kimbolton and going out to eat and hearing Gary’s stories about the little horse that beat the crap out of him that time he tried to pull it out of the lake. I will miss Lisa’s funny stories about Fay (or “Fee-Fee” as she called her). Lisa absolutely adores her and will miss her greatly. Dr. Stephany Moore is a friend that Lisa and I have enjoyed spending time with (along with her family) and have shared many laughs and funny stories over the past year. Their working relationship was outstanding and the two will be spending additional time together next week at an ultrasound training event in Asheville, North Carolina. Their personal and professional relationship will last a lifetime.
We are both grateful to Mark (Lisa’s boss) and his assistant, Leisa. Mark showed great confidence in Lisa practically from day one and was instrumental in her being called to work here and then staying through three extensions. The kindness of Marti Reed was greatly appreciated and we both enjoyed getting to know her and Mark, her husband. We will think of them both every time we see the toy box they built and painted for our grandson at Christmas.
The crew of Stacy, Cheri, Tosha and Elizabeth in the CVP department will be always on Lisa’s mind and just a phone call away. Lisa knows they will continue being a great team and provide great care for their patients.
It is impossible to mention all the co-workers Lisa has grown so fond of but suffice it to say, they all will be missed. Driving her to work each morning has become a habit that will be hard to break – as will hearing the stories of life at Southeastern Medical each afternoon. I will even miss hearing Wayne, the hospital volunteer, asking me, “Are you waiting?” as he did every day I saw him in the lobby. I’ll even miss you, Wayne.
I will miss Sue Dodd. I looked (unsuccessfully) for art classes literally from one end of this country to the other while we have traveled and never expected to find such a person and artist as Sue Dodd here in Cambridge. The times we spent singing and laughing and painting were some of my fondest memories of being here in Ohio. I will never be the artist she is but her encouragement has me excited to keep painting – keep trying. I will never forget her.
And then there are the people and friends we have made here at our campground. We will miss Frank and Carla, a very sweet couple that live here with Frank’s job in the oil and gas industry. We will miss the owners of the campground, Dan and Julie and our Wednesday night poker games. Then there is Richard Mayo and his wife and the couple that sold us farm fresh eggs and joined us often for dinner at “Theo’s”, Harriet and Richard Gray. These people have been like family for the past year.
And lastly, we will miss a very special family. Kevin and Sheri Thrasher and their two boys, Tyler and Chris, have become some of our dearest friends. Kevin, or “Penis” as we call him, (The nickname came from one of our first campfires with he and Sherri. As people drove past his camper throughout the night, Kevin grew tired of calling them by their names and just started saying, “Hello Penis!” since they could not hear what he was saying anyway and the nickname stuck) works here at the campground and we came to know this family a couple of months after our arrival. Lisa has told so many funny stories about “Penis” that the staff at Southeastern Medical now know him by that name only and we have suggested that if he ever is admitted to the hospital or in need of medical treatment, he should sign in as “Penis” and every nurse and doctor will know who he is. Many weekend nights were spent around their campfire laughing (mainly at Kevin) and enjoying life together. We will miss our nightly visit from Kevin (he stays at the campground through the week) and I will be forever grateful for his company during the long, hard winter months with little to do except laugh at each other, watch the weather and hope we did not all freeze to death. Chris, their youngest son, who has autism, has made the extra bedroom in our camper his own while he visits during the weekends and the times we took him to the movies were very special. His parents do a marvelous job with him and have tried to prepare him for our departure (he only says, “I don’t want to talk about it” – God love him). This special family is a hard-working inspiration to Lisa and I and we will never forget them.
Lisa and I will soon be traveling across the flat, open western landscape as we head toward Arizona. It is certain that we will find ourselves missing these rolling hills of Guernsey County, Ohio. We will miss watching the early morning mist lying low in the Appalachian mountains and though the winter was long and harsh, the beauty of those snow covered hills was unlike anywhere we have visited. I will miss sitting along the banks of the crystal clear stream that snakes through the campground and I will miss feeding the horses (“Ben” and “Misty”) that are stabled at the adjacent farm. I have to wonder if they will be looking for me after I’m gone. In fact, I wonder if Lisa and I have made enough of an impact that will make people miss us as much as we will miss them. With the oil and gas boom here in the area, people move in and out all the time. It seems that most make little if any connection to the residents as their stays may range from a month to a year or longer. Maybe Lisa and I should have used that approach. That is, keep to ourselves and stay disconnected from others. But, we got close to people here – we made friends and Cambridge, Ohio became our home. This good-bye may be the hardest one yet.
But, now it is time to look homeward. We are sad to leave these friends that we have made but are excited to be going home to our family and to spend time with our grandson, Conner Jack, before heading west. Thanks, Cambridge, for your hospitality and friendship!
We will never forget you. Love, Steve and Lisa