Little Rieu and Alice in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT this year was just amazing, with FIVE concerts and so many old and new friends to meet up with again. It was a time of sheer happiness, excitement, emotions and pure joy! There are many stories to come from this years outing to the city ... but one of mine is nothing to do with the concerts, or the music ... it's to do with friendships.

My friend Betty and I went a week early so that we could enjoy the quiet charm of Maastricht that we love so much before the thousands of fans came upon it. We had a wonderful time and it was everything we remembered from years before ... (this was our third year). Breakfast on the River Maas on a beautiful clear morning, walking the little winding cobblestone streets that were almost empty until we were lost, and enjoying the wonderful food at the Cafe's around the Vrijthof ~ with our home base always being Gauchos for afternoon tea and dinner where we could watch the André happenings on the Vrijthof.

At the end of the first week I was starting to feel just a little homesick at times. It's a long way from home and I was missing it ... but especially my Sassy. I started missing those big brown eyes and wet kisses. Around that time though, all the fans started arriving for the second week of concerts and festivities. One
dear friend, Alice ... brought me the cutest gift ... a little puppy. Not just any little puppy ... this one was like André's dog. She even had a friend dye parts of the puppy's hair to look more like André's dog!! Little did she know that this silly little stuffed puppy was just what I needed with being a little on the homesick side and missing my Sassy so much. It wasn't Sassy ~ but it was a puppy with a little cocked head that I swear gave it personality. And it was so sweet of her to think of something special like that to give to me ~ I instantly loved Rieu. (of course I named him Rieu!) For three days ~ Rieu went everywhere with me, he even slept with me!! :) I carried him around during the day with his little head sticking out of my Maastricht bag. My friends got to know him! I know ~ I'm crazy. He was so cute though and I just loved that little puppy.
On the third day, a very special day ... Jann arrived from Australia. We have been very close friends through email and hours on hours on the phone ... but have never met. I was so excited when she got there!!! And she too brought me a gift. "ALICE" the Koala Bear! Well, there we were at Gauchos and suddenly everyone is taking pictures of me and Jann and Alice ... and some just of Alice. God, even Alice loved Alice!!! While there in the Maastricht bag is poor little Rieu wondering, "Alice, Alice ~ Who the "Heck" is Alice!!!"
Alice was absolutely adorable and with the history behind her I will always cherish her. I took her back up to my room and she sat in the chair there by the window for all to see ... then off we went to dinner, with little Rieu in my Maastricht bag sticking his tiny head out ~ happy again. :) He went all over Maastricht with me and even to one of the concerts!! He also watched one of them from the window in our room and clapped along with Teresa from England! He had a gay old time ...

Then it was the night before we were to leave for home. We got back to the room late ... I got ready for bed and as I came out of the bathroom Sonja was already in bed (hugging her little Teddy Bear from Alice). I went to my Maastricht bag to get Rieu to go to bed ........ and NO Rieu!!!! I was panicked!!!! We looked
everywhere!!!! Under chairs, under the beds, in the covers and cushions ... Rieu was nowhere. All I could think is I must have left him at Gauchos at dinner time. I couldn't go look because it was three in the morning. I was in tears ........ poor Sonja even offered me her Teddy Bear to sleep with. Seriously!!! Now THAT'S a friend! But it wasn't Rieu ... Rieu was given to me by a sweet friend and he had become so special to me ......
I went to bed heartbroken ... I was leaving the next day to go home and no Rieu. I thought I would forever be sad about this. I couldn't go to sleep wondering where he was ... had someone taken him? Did Gauchos have him safely in lost and found? Would I never know and never see him again? ........ I said to Sonja, this is crazy, a grown woman in tears because she can't find her little stuffed puppy .......... I was so sad as I fell asleep. :(

The next morning when I woke, the first thing on my mind was to get to Gauchos and see if they had Rieu!! I prayed that they had Rieu!! I was getting ready and went to reach for my jacket on the back of the chair. I don't know
what made me look, but I looked again behind the chair in the daylight and
THERE WAS RIEU!!!!!!! I was happy beyond words of description and Rieu was going home with me!! ........ Sonja was as excited as I was!! (probably 'cause she was afraid she was going to have to give me her little Teddy Bear!)
Rieu made the long trip home ... yes, with his tiny little head sticking out of my Maastricht bag. The lady in Airport Security gave me an odd look ...... but I didn't care, Rieu was going home with me! He sits with me at my laptop and keeps me company every night now. Working hard on the Parlor into the wee hours ... :)

Poor Alice was not so lucky. She was too big and just not enough room in my luggage for her. So Sonja said she would mail her to me in California from her
mom's near Amsterdam. She had so little time at her mom's and with all she was doing she didn't get a chance to mail Alice ... now I was starting to wonder, Where the "Heck" is Alice!?!?! I didn't want to say anything though as it was nice of her to offer to ship her. She had decided to bring Alice home with her and mail her to me from there. (Ohio)
Alice arrived yesterday!! And since little Rieu feels like King of the house now, he was not threatened at all by Alice's arrival. They have had a wonderful reunion and ALL are happy!! ...........


Now the moral of this story is ... how many people have friends that will bring them a Puppy and a Koala Bear half way around the world, or offer to give you their Teddy Bear!! How lucky am I??? :)

PS ~ The Concerts Were Great!!!