Sunday, April 9, 2023

Family Far and Near - Week of Apr. 3rd

"We didn't realize we were making memories.  We just knew we were having fun." ~AA. Milne

The author of Winnie the Pooh was spot on.  The remaining two days we had in Arizona were definitely fun-filled.  I do believe, though, we all knew it would be memorable.

After the amazing breakfast buffet on Monday morning, Jane wanted to do a bit of shopping in Old Scottsdale.  Much to her surprise, Chris, Cam, Nate, Zac and Ulysses all tagged along.  As an experienced shopper, Jane only needed one store to complete her list.  After 30 minutes and asking a friendly store owner, a single location fulfilled all items.  

Late in the afternoon, we met up with John and his daughter Layna, and Grandma Sue at The Organ Stop in Mesa, Arizona. 

In 1972, the original Organ Stop Pizza restaurant premiered in Phoenix, Arizona at the corner of 7th Street and Missouri Avenue with a Wurlitzer pipe organ which was originally built for Grauman’s Hollywood Egyptian Theater. This unique concept of a pizza parlor with a pipe organ was envisioned by William P. Brown, a Phoenix real estate developer whose enthusiasm for the theater pipe organ and its music led to the creation of this landmark attraction. The phenomenal success of the Phoenix restaurant prompted plans to open another Organ Stop in Mesa. It opened in 1975 near the corner of Dobson and Southern Avenue with a Wurlitzer organ from the Denver Theater in Denver, Colorado. In the theater, the Denver instrument had 15 ranks, or sets of pipes. The instrument was totally rebuilt, and the decision was made to enlarge the organ to 23 ranks for its debut in the new Mesa Organ Stop. In its new and improved location, Organ Stop Pizza and its Mighty Wurlitzer have come to be known as the biggest and best in the world as attested to by many of the world’s finest theater organists and, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands of patrons who visit each year. There are continuing efforts to make additions and improvements to the organ, endeavoring to fine tune the instrument closer and closer to perfection. 

Following our fun at The Organ Stop, our caravan of 3 vehicles made its way up South Mountain.

South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona is the largest municipal park in the United States, and one of the largest urban parks in North America and in the world. It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride. The park's lookout point rises over 1000 feet above the desert floor. Beyond the roads leading to ramadas and the summit, the park features 58 miles of trails for cycling, hiking and horseback riding. It took us almost 30 minutes to drive up the mountain from its base.  We all watched the sunset together before making our way back down the mountain.

Tuesday was our busiest day yet and our last full day in Arizona.  We certainly did pack a lot in.  After breakfast, Cam and his mom and dad, along with three of his uncles and their mom ventured over to see Cam's great Grandma Mary once again.  We chatted, looked at more pictures and had a nice visit.

Our next stop was Cam's Uncle John's workplace.  He runs a treatment center in Mesa for individuals trying to better themselves in different ways.  He introduced all of us to his clients that were present and talked about how it's never too late to bring family together.  As a family, we had the honor of serving lunch to the clients.  We then dined together right there in the office.

Cam and his dad, along with Ulysses and Grandma Sue all picked up Layna at school that afternoon. We then had a bit of respite prior to heading out again. Cam's Uncle John hosts a weekly video podcast.  He is inspirational, working to help others find their meaning and their full potential.  John asked his brothers to be his guests for the podcast taping at the studio.  He also requested Jane, Cam, Layna and Grandma Sue to be in the audience.

It was a true professional setup and we were all impressed!  You can view the video podcast by clicking on this link.  Family Matters Video Podcast.  The five brothers are in full view and the audience was invited in at the close of the broadcast.  After the studio visit, we took our caravan to Portillo's for a fun, relaxing dinner.  We had to say goodbye to Layna and John that evening.  Wednesday morning, we enjoyed our last breakfast buffet with Grandma Sue, Nate, Zac and Ulysses.  Cam told his uncles and grandma how much he would miss them.  As we said our goodbyes and talked about how we would meet up again, the smiles and laughter continued for Chris and his brothers.  Our travels back home on Wednesday brought continued discussion, reliving our favorite outings and talks.  We didn't make it into our beds until almost midnight on Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday were still a part of Cam's spring break so we all enjoyed a bit of extra sleep.  Cam had a chipped tooth fixed on Friday and his parents reluctantly tried to get back into the swing of things at work.  On Saturday afternoon, we were so happy to welcome Oma and Opa!  They arrived early to spend Easter Sunday with us and were eager to hear about Arizona.  We watched "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" after our flank steak dinner.  Cam and his grandma could not stop laughing about all of the antics in the movie!  We attended church the next morning, sitting with our dear friends, the Raisch family.  Later in the afternoon, Mike and Eric arrived for Easter din.  It was fun catching up, swapping stories and eating a delicious ham meal.

We apparently brought the Phoenix weather back to Michigan as we enjoyed one of the nicest weather days for Easter.  Not only did the sun bring extra brightness and warmth, the recent memories certainly did as well!

Camology Quotes:

Cam's Uncle John always makes him laugh. Seeing him at his own workplace, though, gave Cameron a different perspective.  He was able to see how his uncle is helping others on a daily basis, providing inspiration and his own experiences.  Cam was also proud to be introduced as part of the family and after meeting Uncle John's clients, he quietly said to his mom:

"I loved seeing Uncle John's clients' faces light up when he was speaking."

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