It’s been a bittersweet week for Twin Valley Church as we’re finally saying a long goodbye to our Pastor Drew and his family after many years of friendship. It was also a very busy Final Sunday Morning for all of us, with one last Sunday School with Mrs. Teresa followed by a packed church service (which even included my parents) and a baby dedication for little Grace Jashinske. The elders gathered around the Rietjens family for a teary-eyed blessing after the service, and then we got to have a baptism for one of our members out on the front steps.
We had something of a farewell potluck afterward with more people and food in attendance than I can remember in a long time. That included another lovely cake from my mother-in-law. Friends of friends also showed up, and Hannah and Aaron had a lovely time playing with a bunch of the little visitors before we finally had to go home.
We had a few more presidential candidates pass through during the week. The first was Rand Paul, who attracted a decidedly more libertarian following at his brief meet-and-greet at the Council Bluffs Hilton, with fellow travelers in tricorner hats and a stray Objectivist among the crowd. My parents were also there, of course, as well as former Lee Terry primary challenger Dan Frei. Tom Becka also brought along junior reporter Maria Thompson from KPTM, who was quite thrilled to have a brief interview with Senator Paul at the end of the event.
Then on Friday, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina came to down for a town hall event sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America. Mrs. Fiorina gave a brief talk and then had some Q&A with pre-screened questions with Concerned Veterans for America CEO Pete Hegseth. There was a fairly good turnout with plenty of service members represented in the audience. I was also able to squeeze on stage for my obligatory picture with Mrs. Fiorina before she left to chat with the media afterward.
Our kids had some photo-worthy fun during the week playing in leaves for Aaron’s 17-month photo shoot. They also got to build a couch cushion fort — a quintessential part of any normal childhood. Then on Saturday, Hannah spent the afternoon playing with the Rietjens kids one last time as I helped Pastor Drew haul down some heavy furniture and disassemble some beds in preparation for a big moving day on Wednesday. Hopefully now the big move will go much more quickly with everything stored in one garage, ready to be hauled into the moving van.
After we were done, the Rietjens treated us to one last meal together down at the Chick-Fil-A on Cornhusker Rd. Clear Lake, Iowa doesn’t have its own CFA yet, so the Rietjens were getting their fill of chicken sandwiches and waffle fries before making the big move. An employee came by and gave our little girls carnations for some reason, and Aaron got loaded up on a milkshake before spending some quality time with the crazy loud kids in the play area before we said our last goodbyes.
Yes, it’s been hard saying goodbye to this wonderful family, but I keep hoping we’ll see them again soon. They’re practically on the way to Cedar Rapids, should we ever drive that way to see family again. (It could happen!)