Monday, June 16, 2008

A Turn of Luck

We have been lucky on this road trip. We left our home in Oregon the very day we planned. Our hippie bus starts every morning and runs strong all day long. We have safely traveled the roads of this great land. We have been heartily welcomed by our family and friends. We have been healthy enough to enjoy every moment.

And then in Tampa, FL, our luck turned. For the better.

From the Florida panhandle, we voyaged southward hugging the Gulf coast. The roads are a gray slash through a never-ending wall of trees. Only an occasional roadside attraction colors the dull greenery.

I pushed the bus to its limit, the needle never dipping below a dizzying 55 mph. Diane schemed with her niece, DeeAnn. We had planned to see DeeAnn and her family from the outset of this trip. But we hadn’t dreamed to surprise to anyone. Especially not DeeAnn’s mother, Patty – Diane’s older sister. We had not planned to see Patty until we got to West Virginia, months from now. But, as luck would have it, Patty and her husband Dee were there that very weekend visiting her daughter in Tampa.

Under the cover of dusk, we rolled into Tampa and then up their drive. And the sisters were joyously reunited. It just so happens that DeAnn and her husband Anthony have a place by the beach. And it just so happens that Diane and Patty love to hang out on the beach.

As does the entire family--especially DeeAnn and Anthony’s two young ones: Rocco, 4 and Olivia, 3.

It was a full house, on the go, all the time. Playtime, dinner time, even a wine tasting party with our hosts’ large collection of friends and neighbors (thanks DeAnn and Anthony!). There was, of course, a bit of downtime.

The four days we spent in Tampa went by all too quickly. DeAnn and Anthony were incredibly generous. Diane had some great girl time with her lovely sister and niece, and we made plans to see Patty and Dee again in West Virginia. And, if our luck holds, we hope to see DeeAnn, Anthony, Rocco and Olivia in St. Louis later this year, when a fall chill nips the air and football* fever again sweeps the nation.

*Now in his ninth season as a professional football player, Anthony just signed to play for the St. Louis Rams. (He played previously for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets). A consummate professional, Anthony has missed playing in only one game during his entire career. Longevity in professional sports, as in any profession, requires more than luck. Anthony makes few mistakes on the field. He works hard and keeps healthy. He is an athlete who is worthy of being called a role model. When the Rams offense takes the field this year, look for Anthony Becht, number 87.


  1. Thanks for posting this my husband went to school with Dee Ann and we have contact with them to this day. Maybe someday we'll cross paths with you and your bus.

  2. You've spent some time with one of my most favorite families of all time. So happy to see pictures of the Gonzalez' and the Bechts as it's been years since I've seen them. I miss them dearly.

    Addie (Collins) Zinone