Mrs. Friese invited us over for brunch at Tel Hai Retirement Community in Honey Brook, PA. Mom, dad, Aunt Kathy, Aunt Peg, Uncle Tom, his twin brother Bill, and I met at 12:30. I haven’t seen Bill in a while and we caught up for a bit. We talked sports – I told him I mostly follow the Toronto teams (except for the Ravens) and was telling him about the time I saw a Blue Jays home opener in April 2016 and it snowed. Mrs. Friese is a Canadian, so Bill enjoyed my story. Mrs. Friese then showed us her apartment and we gathered there briefly until brunch.
Ah, brunch! We went to Garrett Hall and they had a large table set up for us. I ordered my gluten-free meal: French toast, hash browns and a salad; mom, dad, Bill, Mrs. Friese, and Uncle Tom ordered Prime Rib; Aunt Kathy and Aunt Peg ordered eggs. As we waited for our food to come out to us, we all told different stories and had fun laughing. The elders talked about the old days, Bill works in hospitality and we chatted travel and about my gluten-free diet; unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos because I was savouring the moments and I wasn’t sure how others would have felt. That’s okay, our meals were delicious and I enjoyed listening to the stories. I will remember the beauty of Garrett Hall and how the sun eventually came out, lighting the room.
After our meal, which Mrs. Friese treated us to, she showed us around Tel Hai. Her daughter used to work for the Upper Merion Township Library when she was younger and she knows how much I love libraries. She showed me the library she volunteers for and recommended some books. It was a spacious room with shelves and shelves of books, magazines, and some chairs. It was a cozy space and I could have stayed for hours.
We went back to her apartment and all sat in the living room. Mrs. Friese showed us some of her belongings that she traded with the Canadian Indians when she was younger. Some were handmade boxes made of quills, and some were made from Teak wood. They were beautiful and she was telling us about her life in Canada. Her one brother lives in Prince Edward Island and I enjoyed hearing about him. Dad loved the recliner she had and it was just comfortable sitting in her living room for an hour, just chatting as a loving family. Her apartment was warm and welcoming.
Before we left, Mrs. Friese gave everyone slices of chocolate cake. She said, “I feel bad that I can’t give Jessica any! How about the Prime rib I had wrapped?” She gave me her Prime rib and I feel verklempt. I am beyond grateful and the Prime rib she gave me will be lunch tomorrow. We all thanked her, gave her a big hug and kiss before we left; we can’t wait to go back to Tel Hai. I did capture a photo of the retirement community as we pulled out of the parking lot.