A TERRIFIC VISIT BACK TO NEW YORK ... Martha and I enjoyed our planned trip "north" (July 24 - August 2). Our flights fell apart at the last minute so we ended up driving the Prius non-stop to New York, surprising Don and Marti Burdick with a late night arrival on July 24th. Julie and Martha's mom Betty drove separately to Rochester to visit with friends and enjoy many of our planned events. It was great to stay with the Burdick's for a couple of nights and visit with their Dunkirk-Fredonia friends, many of whom we hadn't seen since moving south. The friendship, food, beverage, deck party and memories shared were wonderful. Next it was off to Belmont where we stayed with cousin Diann (and husband Al) Emerson. Diann and Al had planned a "Ritter reunion" at their home which included many of the Friendship area "Ritter's", Aunt Jessie and cousin Marv from Arcade, as well as a couple of cousins on my mother's (Calhoun) side of the family (Helen and Bill Hutchinson and Nancy and Dave Sortore). And what a pleasant surprise to see cousin Bill Calhoun and Jackie Swarthout Aylor at Diann and Al's house one evening as well. Bill and Jackie live in Mt. Pleasant, SC which is about an hour or so from Edisto ... practically neighbors! It was just great to visit again with so many of my long-lost relatives as well as get reacquainted with Diann and Al's family. We drove over to Friendship and enjoyed a relaxing visit and lunch with the Strahan clan at Dick and Karen's house. How special it was to visit with all the Strahan's who had returned once again to Friendship the last week in July to see Mom Strahan, play a bit of golf and enjoy the "Friendship Homecomers" weekend festivities. We also visited with Uncle Bill and Stevie Ritter at Uncle Bill's new Pennsylvania Ave apartment. Great to see them both again! My 45th high school (Friendship Central School Class of 1967) class reunion was held on Friday evening at the Angelica Hotel with about 20 classmates plus spouses in
attendance. As expected, it was "a hoot". Wow are these guys and gals starting to look old! We were especially pleased that Jill Roland McCaughey, whom most of us hadn't seen since high school, drove all the way from Calgary to attend the reunion! It was great to see Jill again after all these years. Some in our class however just couldn't stop telling (and laughing about) some story about "flying geranium pots" at the Roland house that occurred late one night back in '67... right Don Burdick? I prepared a short DVD for my classmates to reminisce the good old days which included a couple of vintage super 8mm movie clips of some memorable class parties at my parent's Cuba Lake cottage ... some pretty funny stuff! Next, we drove to Rochester to visit with Derek, Carrie, Jack, Lindsay and Jobe and prepare for Stefanie and Aaron's "northern wedding reception" on Sunday, July 29th. Sunday turned out to be a picture perfect upstate New York summer day and we celebrated with an excellent "Cornell chicken barbeque" with about 60 friends and family members in Derek and Carrie's backyard. Special thanks to Dick, Sam, Bruce and Tom Strahan for cooking the legendary and delicious Cornell chicken. Next it was off to Sodus Point to enjoy a couple of "downtime days" with my college friend and fellow Kodak engineer Doug Carlton and his wife Carolyn at their new home on Sodus Bay. We spent some relaxing time on the Carlton's pontoon boat enjoying some adult beverages and just catching up on life. Martha and Carolyn went water skiing after the bay waters calmed down a bit. Martha got right up on one ski her first try ... impressive given her age! Carolyn got up as well but then took an awkward fall. We got her back in the boat but she was in much pain, suspecting she had reinjured an old sports injury. We enjoyed an outstanding lobster dinner with the Carltons. However by morning Carolyn's pain had worsened so Doug took her to the emergency room. To make a long, disheartening story short, after numerous scans it was determined Carolyn had fractured her lower back in three places! After spending a week in Highland Hospital, Carolyn has finally returned home to begin a long healing process. While we're confident she'll fully recover from this accident, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. After two days at the Carlton's home, it was time to head south again. Martha and I decided to take a couple of days to return home to Edisto, over-nighting outside of Washington, DC. We took the Metro into Washington and toured the memorials (Lincoln, Vietnam Wall, Korean War, and the new World War II memorial). The new World War II memorial was especially impressive and beautiful. Tom Hanks and his team did an outstanding job executing this memorial. I was especially touched when I keyed in my dad's name into one of the memorial's computers and a one page summary of Burton G. Ritter's WWII service to our country popped right
up! An emotional moment which meant a great deal to me. The next morning we hopped back in the Prius and pounded the pavement for nine more hours returning safely home to the low country. A very, very busy trip indeed.
CHEMO ROUND 23 ... successfully completed on Wednesday, August 8th with the expected side effects (fatigue, flushing, mouth sores, lack of appetite and hiccups). Labs were good. Next CT scan to assess progress is scheduled for August 29th.
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP at KIAWAH ... the low country is abuzz with the excitement of this week's PGA Championship tournament at The Ocean Course on Kiawah. Traffic on the Savannah Highway (Route 17) has been really heavy for the past week now. We've decided to watch it from home and will be having new Edisto friends (Susan and Bill) over Sunday afternoon to view the final round and enjoy some grilled Zweigle hots and authentic Texas Hot sauce, along with some sharp cheddar Cuba cheese for their very first time!
NEXT UP, FAMILY CRUISE ... we're looking forward to our planned "family cruise" August 21-26 (Carnival Cruise on the "Fantasy" from Charleston to the Bahamas and return). This has been a long-standing "bucket list" item of mine. While it was difficult to schedule with everyone's busy work schedules, we've booked it. We'll have four cabins (Betty and Julie, Lindsay and Jobe, Derek, Carrie and Jack, and Martha and yours truly). Unfortunately Stefanie and Aaron won't be able to join us given Stefanie's more than 24 weeks into her pregnancy per cruise line policy. Stefanie's 32 weeks into her pregnancy now. So while we won't have the entire "Spritter family" on the ship, we know Stefanie, Aaron and "Baby MacDonald" will be with us in spirit. We're planning a pre-cruise family celebration here at the beach prior to embarkation. Should be fun and create some great memories!
Please especially keep the following in your thoughts and prayers ... my Uncle George Ritter who at 92 will be undergoing heart surgery in Rochester next week, Dana Ritter Thornton as she battles a new and serious cancer in North Carolina, and our dear friend Carolyn Carlton as she recovers from her water skiing injury. Once again we send our very best ... and may God continue to bless you and yours.
Dan and Martha
P.S. Please note Martha's has done a yeoman's job adding several new pics to our weebly site. You'll find these new pics appended to those previously added.