A few thoughts after the weekend...

Discussion in 'Annual Alabama Sessions' started by Leigh, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama
    So much as been said thanking Patrick and me for hosting this year's Annual Get-Together. Now it's my turn to do the thanking.

    I would like to just begin by saying that this community that we have, here at the NikonCafe', is very special to me. I have gotten to know so many of you through photography, where I might not otherwise have had the opportunity. I love the sense of family that we have here.

    That sense of family is what makes each Annual Get-Together so very special. As has been mentioned in a previous thread, having everyone gather together as we did this past weekend, is much like a family reunion. In fact, many of you will notice that there are quite a few honorary aunts, uncles and even a grandma and grandpa! You all are family to us and we love you so much.

    I would like to thank everyone for taking the time out of your busy lives to share some time with us, to let us show you some Southern Hospitality. I hope you enjoyed your time here in Alabama as much as we enjoyed having you here. Not all of you may know this, but I didn't actually grow up in Alabama. I was born here, but my family moved to California when I was very young. We didn't move back here until I was already in High School. I am so grateful that we moved here because I cannot imagine raising my children anywhere else. And, now that I do have a home here with my own family, it's a real pleasure to open it up to you all...our extended family.

    Another thank you that I would like to make is to Marilyn (Larry's wife). She was so sweet to arrange a very generous present of gift-cards in honour of the upcoming birth of our 3rd child. Thank you so much to Marilyn and all who made this gift possible. The generosity shown to us by you all is very touching. We will never forget your kindness.

    Frank and Marissa, Connie, Grandpa Rich and Grandma Carolyn, Wade...thank you so much for arriving early on Friday night to help out with the last minute details.

    Wade, the door prizes were a HUGE hit...thanks for taking the time to arrange that for all of us. Gosh, what fun that was! Also, big thanks to everyone who donated to make the door prizes possible.

    Frank and Marissa brought the cannoli's and those who got to sample them, know that they were out of this world!!! Thanks you two!!!!

    Sommer, Paul and Melissa...thank you for hosting this year's campfire again! I'm looking forward to more s'mores next year!!!

    Mason and Frank...You guys both went above and beyond in helping to make our out of town guests feel at home and welcome. Mason...I'm so thankful for everything you have done and for what a great friend you have become to, not just the NikonCafe', but to myself and Patrick as well.

    And to everyone else who was here...thank you for helping to create some wonderful memories.

    After dinner Sunday night, I was in absolute tears on the way home. I had so much fun with you the entire weekend, that I was sad to see it end. I look forward to next year and the opportunity to see you all again.

    Hugs to everyone and know that I love you all from the bottom of my heart. You guys and gals are the greatest group of friends I could ever know!

    Thank you all so much for bringing light, laughter and love to my life.
     
  2. Love to you, Leigh.

    Hugs, Rich & Carolyn
     
  3. Leigh,
    The never ending kindness of you and Patrick is touching. You are such genuine, wonderful people that I am proud to call my good friends.
    Thank you again for letting me be part of the great family gathering that we had last weekend. The Café has been a very special place for me since almost the very beginning. The Get Together solidifies the bond with the real people that are behind the names and avatars.
    My heartfelt thanks again to you two, to all the locals (and almost locals) who made me feel so welcome and all the others who participated to make this fabulous weekend what it was.
     
  4. Oh Leigh, you and your family are like family to us too! In fact, when we met everyone in person last year, it was like a family reunion. This year was hard to not be there - we felt like we were missing out big time! I'm so thankful that this forum has brought so much more to our lives through photography and the friendships we've made! With all my heart, I'm thankful for ya'll and everyone that I'm proud to call "friend!!" Well, for some reason, I can't seem to say what's in my heart, so I'm just gonna say thanks for your friendship! :redface:
     
  5. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Leigh,

    Your post brings a smile to the face, a warmness to the heart, and a wish that we could have stayed longer than we did, I really wanted to go to the dam, and the campfire Sat, and dinner Sunday evening. But...such was our schedule, but I was glad we are able to share our time with you and the cafe family,

    all the best, to everyone

    Wade and Diane
     
  6. For me, becoming a part of the Nikon Cafe family has been a wonderful and significant piece of my life....Definitely this past weekend was just that, a family reunion and it was great! Gosh, Patrick and Frank didn't know what they were starting, did they, when they first developed the Cafe?! It's more than just a photography forum, it's a place for kindred spirits to meet and for people to share their lives....and a place which truly does exude a sense of family. Thank you, Patrick and Leigh and Frank for developing and nurturing the Cafe and thank you, all who participate and who make it the wonderful, lively place that it is!
     
  7. Leigh, your post is touching. It can be difficult for me to see such caring and love of your fellow man. I grew up in a biting, scratching Irish household. No danger of the chicks not leaving the nest there.

    It was amazing to see the the group dynamic. You are all great people. The May idea is excellent as I'll find a few more flowers in the Blue Ridge on the way back.

    God bless you all and see you next year.

    John
     
  8. Bubba

    Bubba

    493
    Apr 12, 2005
    Alabama
    Well, Leigh, aren't all Southerners related ;) Seriously, your post is very touching and those feelings are definitely reciprocated. I don't get to see you guys or interact with everyone nearly as much as I'd like. However, I take great pleasure in my online family and am thankful for the blessing of having them. Hugs to you and to the whole family! I'm hoping next year can actually give some room to spend more time with you all.
     
  9. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama
    Thank you everyone. I meant every word and I look forward the next time we can all spend some quality family moments together.
     
  10. On a serious note

    I’m not just a cut-up, so indulge me in moment of sincerity if you will. I must be feeling mushy this morning! I have mentioned this briefly in a thread, and several of you heard me say recently what the café and you friendship means to me. When I joined up jut over a year ago, I didn’t take very good pictures. I didn’t see the point in becoming active on the board because I didn’t have anything to contribute photography or technically. I learned 1000% more just reading than I ever would contribute posting.

    Like most of us, I would love to see my photography skills improve, but that is not why I come to this site every day. I come here because of the friends I have made. Some of you may also have heard me say that I was pretty leery about posting on the internet, probably because of a DII football board where I try to get some information. Well…so much for that! This place has been wonderful.

    I am not going down the list of names because [1] I don’t want to forget anyone and [2] I type reallllly slow (I have been at this post for 37 minutes)….but thanks to everyone who came to Huntsville, and to everyone who checks in and participates in the threads. It means a lot to us that so many of you travel from so far away, and I know that for every person or family that does make it, there are more who wish they could come and I hope that we do see you sometime.

    So “Thanks” to everyone for making this little oasis on the net what it is! If any of you are EVER passing through, let me know. Leigh is right, I do get almost as excited as her about all of you coming to town. As I travel in the coming years, I will seek some of you out as well.

    sigh….I still havent’ looked at any one my heron pictures :rolleyes:
     
  11. awwww, I'm all misty eyed now!

    YA'LL CONSIDER YOURSELVES HUGGED TODAY!
     
  12. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama
    Me too! I'm just boo hoo'ing all over the place!

    Hugs all around!
     
  13. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    You know, it is easy to get melancholy when reading posts like these, but did any of you really think that you were going to build these types of relationships when you registered? The Nikon Cafe has become much more than I could have ever anticipated and I know that it is only going to get even better. There is only negative about these get-togethers and that is having to say goodbye to dear friends until next time. Frits made a some wonderful comments during our dinner on Sunday and I sure could never have done nearly as well because I would have teared up. For those who have never attended, you are truly missing a wonderful opportunity and one that I cannot adequately explain. I honestly hope that reading everyone's accounts and viewing their images has piqued your interest in that you may travel in for the 4th Annual event.....trust me when I say that you won't be disappointed with that decision.
     
  14. Y'know Leigh, Washington being the nation's capital is a great place to take the kids. It's a four-lane straight shot to within 2 miles of our house...and there are many "Cafe family" members here who can't make the get-togethers but would be delighted meet you and the family and show you all around. Grandma Carolyn and Grandpa Rich have a guest room suite waiting.

    :biggrin:
     
  15. Hey, I can attest that the new guestroom is really lovely and very comfortably set up! Saw it yesterday and Rich and Carolyn did a terrific job with it! I had seen it in its previous incarnation as a home gym and this is SO much nicer! :smile:

    Yep, Frank, I remember when I first joined the Cafe, I was coming from DPR and was curious to see this new place that was being mentioned....since I was a Nikon shooter it seemed an obvious choice to investigate! I was a bit shy and posted only a couple of times, was happy to be warmly welcomed by everyone, pleased to see other women here (Leigh, Gale, Sandi, Virginia....) and was just getting settled in when I had to unavoidably be away for several months while tending to my mother in her last illness. Upon my return it was as though I were joining anew, starting all over again. I was surprised at how quickly the Cafe had grown in my absence. It was heartwarming how I was quickly welcomed back and that made me feel good right from the get-go.

    When time was drawing near for the 2nd Annual Get-Together I was hesitant at the idea of traveling down there alone; when Dave Watts extended his kind invitation to me to ride along with him that clinched it -- I was going! Am I ever so happy that I did! This year, no hesitation whatsoever and no concerns about traveling alone. I knew I would be among friends and extended family....it was worth the long drive and of course I'm already looking forward to next year's reunion!

    When I joined the Cafe I thought I'd maybe learn a little about photography, maybe see some nice images....never expected to develop some wonderful friendships and to find a whole new family!
     
  16. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama
    I'm packing the car right now! See you in a few hours!:biggrin:
     
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