September 16, 2019
Riverside and Betty’s Garden
It’s the Friday before Labor Day, and we have two visits set up in rural Illinois. It would have been a lot easier logistically to stay in the Chicago suburbs, but two organizations (and two people in particular) are the essence of the whole tour. Cindy DeGroot is a rock star. Her life’s work has been at Riverside Senior Life Communities. We first met at least 15 years ago, and as the years have rolled along for both of us the business relationship has morphed into a great friendship. When we had the trouble with the van, Cindy nervously reached out to make sure we were coming. Knowing her as well as I do, I knew she had something up her sleeve, and she delivered!
We showed up and the party was in full swing. The shades, the sunglasses, our system up and running – a lot of people showed up at our shindig. We even had an electric mirror ready to use. And I’m sure I received the best card I’ll get on this trip! Leslie and I showed up with the Suburban ready to rumble, but Cindy had other ideas for cruising and crooning – we got the cameras into her community’s van. I have no idea how it will all turn out with the quality of the audio and video, but the quality of the residents can’t be denied. We had a bus full, and stories galore of growing up in rural Illinois. One of the ladies, Darlene, had incredible stories of being the youngest of 13 and all kinds of wisdom from that experience. After all that wisdom poured out, she started yodeling! Yodeler #2 on our trip! If you’re the youngest of 13 maybe that’s how you get any attention? Cindy, thank you for so much for your support and your fun over the years. You did it up right!
Then a three-hour drive through rural Illinois to see Doug Currier from Petersen Health Care. iN2L has been a mainstay for their memory care communities (called Betty’s Garden) for many years. It’s a great model that includes communities in rural areas throughout Illinois. Doug, always a big iN2L advocate, had all the local EDs come to our party at the site in Kewanee. We took three ladies for a hilarious cruise through the farm and fields of Kewanee. These ladies would have been fine if we drove to Chicago! Kewanee was in full bloom as we got there. After all, it was national hog day in that fine city!
The day ends, and we madly weave through the traffic nightmare called Chicago to get back to Milwaukee to pick up the van. Leslie was holding onto the side of the seat the whole time, as perhaps a few laws were broken. We made it to the dealership with 15 minutes to spare to see our van sporting a brand-new shiny fuel pump. A three-day weekend awaits us as we head to Jersey!