Mel and Olene Mountain dance at their granddaughter's wedding
These sweet people are two of my favorites. Mel and Olene reside in Florida, near Tampa. I met them at the age of four years old, when they became our neighbors and our best family friends. We share so many wonderful memories with this kindly couple and their children. Summer barbecues and pool parties, visits to a lovely chalet in Incline Village, and so many delicious seafood dinners at the Riverview Lodge in Antioch.
I have some special funny memories, too. Sandi and I sitting on her bedroom floor, playing barbies and sharing secrets. Craig and Wayne and I digging a fort behind the fence, and sharing Army peanut butter sandwiches. Charlie trying to keep us ALL out of trouble :) Playing football in the street until dark.
When I listen with my heart, I can still hear our laughter.
Olene is still my mom's best friend. She is an avid reader and art lover, and has done so much to encourage me through the years. She is a cancer survivor, a strong willed Christian woman, and dedicated to her family. I love her soft southern voice and her cultured manner. I would walk a mile for one of her hugs, in the snow. I owe so much of who I am to her influence.
Mel Mountain is a force of nature. I have a very early memory of him coaching me "That will be 'Yes, Ma'am and No, Sir' young lady" ~ I still say that to this day. He taught me about respect and integrity. He was never too busy to listen to me. He loves to tease, and tells stories about me as a homely little girl riding up to visit with him and saying "Mr. Mountain, guess what?!" It seems I was a little neighborhood gossip in pig-tails. Mel taught me how to prepare the best glass of iced tea, and how to make a mean martini :) One of the high points of my life was when Mel said to me "I'm proud of you." We were sitting in my humble cabin talking about my career path.
Mel is fighting his own battle now. I think of him daily. I want him to feel my prayers and know that I am walking along beside him, holding his hand, all the way from California.
I want his family to know how much I treasure those memories ~ and that I love all of them.
...sending love from California....