Food, friends and summertime fun in Denver

One of my favorite activities in the summertime is to enroll the kids in a two-week-long session of outdoor swim lessons. This year, eight of our good friends joined us so everyday at the pool was like a party.

Hadley excelled and by the end, she could do the front crawl and go off the waterslide into the deep end by herself.

When Bode started his swim lessons, he refused to get his face wet.

And two weeks later he still would not get his face wet.

Any guesses re: who flunked and who moved onto the next level?


One afternoon, we celebrated my friends Eva and Lisa’s birthday by having a party at Westminster Center Park.

This newly-minted park is part-spray fountains and part London-themed playground and is one of the coolest in the Denver area.

This is Bode standing in their makeshift river.

And no, he still did not get his face wet.


One of Jamie’s clients makes ornate olive wood handicrafts out of Bethlehem. As a token of thanks, Mike invited us to come for dinner at his house that she shares with his brother George and sister-in-law Rhonda, their two kids and his parents.

The Middle Easterners redefine “All in the Family.”

I’ll admit it: I was a bit reluctant. It was a thoughtful gesture but going to a client’s home ain’t exactly common practice. But there was no tactful way to get out of it so we consented.

And am I ever glad we did.

First, they were absolutely lovely and I enjoyed reliving the time I spent in Israel, Jordan and Egypt on a Study Abroad.

Second, The Food.

And yes, it deserves capital letters.

Hands down, it was the best Middle Eastern food my mouth has ever had the privilege of partaking. Rhonda must have spent hours–maybe even days–preparing dishes that included grilled lamb and chicken on skewers, tabbouleh, grape leaf rolls, cabbage rolls, hummus, Turkish salad, pasta salad and homemade pita bread that made me weep from its sheer perfection.

The family was tight-knit and so generous. When Jamie mentioned he’d love to go to Israel, George raved, “Just let us know when. We have six homes in Bethlehem and we will set you up with everything you need.”

And he meant it, too.

I interjected: “Just so long as you have Rhonda’s cooking waiting for us.”

George wasn’t the only one who meant it.


I served a mission in Switzerland and France in ’92-’93. One of my dearest mission companions–Soeur (Sister) Fagerstrom–later roomed with me at BYU. I have not seen this little spitfire since my wedding so when she and her endodentist-husband announced they were passing through en route to Colorado Springs for a family reunion, I jumped for joy.

My vertical these days is about 0.5 inches, in case you were wondering.

I have never met her beautiful children so we spent a couple of hours showing them our favorite Denver haunts, which included taking them to dinner at legendary My Brother’s Bar.

Or rather, they took us out and ended up generously picking up the tab.

Note to out-of-town friends: We are happy to “take you to dinner” anytime you want.

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