We met her during our university days when we took classes together and were in plays together. We stayed in contact when she moved to Jamestown to accept a teaching job, visiting her there a few times and doing summer theatre with her during that time. After she moved to MA to work in arts administration, we visited her once and saw the sights in Boston, Concord, Lincoln, and Salem. When she would return to ND to spend holidays with her family, she would often stop by our house for a visit, and she gave Suzanna and Abigail, as babies, pink blankets that they still have to this day.
Those visits fell off in later years, and she never did meet Hillary in person . . . until today! Karen moved back to ND this past winter, so I contacted her recently to see when would be a good time for the Mobergs to journey to Jamestown for a visit. We decided on today, and I told the girls that we were going to see "Auntie Karen." They said, "Okay" . . . and then Hillary asked, "And who is Auntie Karen?" Ha! Well, all the girls definitely know her after today--and love her just as Susan and I do!
After hugs and introductions (e.g., "Hillary, this is Auntie Karen!"), we got a tour of Karen's very lovely house, and we ooh-ed and aah-ed at her great furniture pieces and art work. Jamestown is known as "The Buffalo City" and has the National Buffalo Museum featuring an enormous bison sculpture and a herd of live bison that includes an extremely rare albino bison named White Cloud. Well, Karen had three stuffed animal versions of White Cloud waiting on her dining room table, each one wearing a bison-themed necklace and sporting a tag with an initial to match one of the girls' names. Isn't she thoughtful?! The girls loved their gifts and enjoyed coming up with names for their bison.
Abigail, Karen, Hillary, and Suzanna pose with the herd of albino bison.
Karen was my co-pilot as we drove around town to see points of interest, including Jamestown College, where she now works. The campus is lovely in the spring with oodles of lilac trees in bloom everywhere. She even took us inside the building that houses her office, so now we have a mental frame of reference when we think of her at work.
Suzanna, Abigail, and Hillary commandeer Karen's chair as she poses with them behind her desk. This is her office: where the magic happens.
Three long-time friends reunited at last!
Then we drove to Frontier Village on a hilltop overlooking the city so that we could see the view and pose for photos with "The World's Largest Buffalo," a gigantic cement sculpture of a bison. Surrounding it is a collection of historic buildings and the museum itself, but we arrived with only enough time to pose beneath the sculpture--but that's okay: I just wanted to be able to say that, yes, I have now seen it.
The girls took a moment to pose for a photo en route to the bison sculpture.
Um, this sign says that Jamestown itself is the world's largest buffalo. Am I being too literal?
At last: the famous bison sculpture with a herd of Mobergs beneath it. Christmas card photo, perhaps?
We continued with a driving tour past some pretty churches and other buildings and beside the lovely Jamestown Reservoir before going to the IDK Bar and Grill for supper (delicious) and the Polar King for dessert (tasty ice cream treats).
What the sign does not advertise is the collection of stuffed teddy bears hanging from the ceiling above the dining tables inside. It's surreal and more than a little bit creepy . . . like a gallows for children's toys. Who wants to eat while seated underneath that? We kept our minds off the executed bears by mentally editing the grammatical errors on all the signs posted throughout the place.
Afterward we spent some time relaxing in Karen's expansive back yard--beautifully landscaped with plants around the house, full bushes around the border, and large shade trees. Well, the adults relaxed while the children ran off some of the calories from supper. They "put on a show" for us, running off to the side of the house to plan a stunt before returning to perform a gymnastic trick followed by a you-can-applaud-for-us-now bow and then another trip out of sight to plan the next stunt. They were goofy and amusing, and it was a lovely evening for spending time out on Karen's patio visiting with her between "acts" of the girls' performance.
Susan enjoys the girls' entertainment. Don'tcha just love Karen's patio furniture?
While the girls performed, I was left to bison-sit. Seeing me holding the miniature White Cloud reminded Karen of me holding Miss Eva about 17 years ago . . . and that's all I'm saying about that.
Karen had made a pan of moon cake and treated us to servings of that upon our arrival; and upon our departure, she handed us a plate of chocolate chip cookies that she had made. So nice! We enjoyed spending time with her again, catching up and letting her get to know the girls (and vice versa) a bit. Here's hoping for more frequent visits in upcoming years now that she's just a few hours away.