Two days before Christmas, we added a great-grandson to our family tree. Soon after, we had news of another great due in June. Plus, our oldest granddaughter is engaged. So the family grows with special events.
On the other side of this bright coin is the loss of friends and family. The last few months has been a higher number than usual.
Closest is Curt Knudson, a classmate from fourth grade through high school. We lost touch except for reunions, as most people do, but returning to Vaughn and Curt retiring in Gig Harbor, we’ve been re-aquainted, shared news, thoughts, events. He will be missed.
Pat Greetham, a more recent friend, is also now gone, and several more friends, acquaintances and family members left this world this past year.
One of the signs of getting older, but also a time of drawing on memories of these people and being glad they were in our lives.
Many of us look toward to Valentine’s Day in a few weeks, and in keeping with the season, here’s a sweetheart story shared by friends.
Andrew and Erinn Struthers met at 12 years of age when they rode the same school bus two stops from each other.
As sophomores at Peninsula High School, they worked on an English class project together and began dating soon after. They went their separate ways after high school; Erinn married and had two children.
“We didn’t talk for nearly 10 years at any length,” said Erinn, “then one day we reconnected when I most needed a friend in my journey. Andrew brought me out of a very dark place in my life and we found that we were bound to be more than friends.”
Andrew proposed under a super moon on the beach at Harstine Island by tying a hemp string around her finger as her engagement ring.
“We wanted a very simple wedding between us and God in our favorite place where we had been camping many times. I bought a ‘gunny sack’ dress at a second-hand store,” Erinn said.
A good friend, ordained, did the service and another friend took pictures.
“On the summer solstice 2012, we stood in the Duckabush River in the shadow of the Brothers Mountain range and washed our pasts down the river to start anew together in a new life as a new family,” Erinn said.
Corianna and Caden, her children, walked them up the river bank and to their campsite.
The Struthers moved to Longbranch three years ago and have two more children. They wanted to escape the city and raise their kids on fresh country air and home grown milk and food.
“We truly feel blessed that God has put us in this community with all the wonderful people we have met and are now part of our lives,” said Erinn.
In December, Andrew, Erinn, Corianna and Caden became members of the Longbranch Community Church, baptized at the Herron Island Ferry launch with snow covered Olympics in the backdrop.
This summer solstice, their five-year anniversary, they will renew their vows with family and friends who were unable to attend their wedding ceremony.
“We have survived some really tough times as a family and couple in the last few years,” said Erinn, “and the property where we live now has brought us so much happiness, we want to celebrate the many blessings God has bestowed upon us, not the least of which is bringing us back together.”
As we move into this new year, may our “comings” be joyful and the “goings” few, but with special memories to help us through them.