"We are the parents no one wants to be," Bobbie Kaligian of Geneva said.
She's right. No parent wants to deal with the death of a child, especially when it is so unexpected and, in the case of Ray Kaligian III, quite unusual.
But Bobbie and her husband Ray will find plenty of solace when family and friends gather on Saturday, Aug. 8, at Mill Creek Golf Course for the second annual outing in honor of their son.
A standout golf and baseball player and 2003 Geneva High School graduate, the younger Ray had the world by the tail as a young executive for Phillips 66 while living in Houston.
But the Kaligians' world came crashing down when Ray and his dog died in 2013 after his car somehow started in the closed garage through a remote ignition key and filled his home with carbon monoxide.
The family is overwhelmed with the support from friends coming in from all over the country and Canada to participate in the outing, Bobbie Kaligian said.
"It's still really sad for us, but it gives people a chance to remember him and talk to us about him," she added. "Sometimes people just don't know what to say to us, but when you have a venue like this, where it's all really about Ray, it really does us good to hear people freely talk about him."
Those interested in playing in the four-person scramble event that starts at 1 p.m. can register on the raykaligian3memorialgolf.com site. Cost is $75 for an individual player for lunch and golf, or $300 for a registered team. Cost is $100 for an individual also planning to attend the dinner.
Money raised will go to the Wounded Warriors Project, Anderson Animal Shelter and Kids Golf Foundation.
"The three charities we are dealing with are phenomenal," said Bryan Knapp, a close friend of Ray.
Ray had plenty of friends who are veterans, his family rescued many dogs and he always helped younger golfers get better, making the charities perfect for the event, Knapp added.
It is especially heartwarming for the family to see Ray's best friend in college, Jeff Shaw, also participating and helping plan this year's event.
"We are very lucky to have Bryan and Jeff in our lives," Bobbie said. "They are like family, and my son chose his friends wisely."
Independent coffee shop:
Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts get most of the coffee love and attention out there. But smaller, independent coffee shops can, and do, survive quite well.
Judy Jendro and her husband recently celebrated 35 years of business as owners of the Coffee Drop Shop, located at the Berry House shops in Geneva.
Coffee Drop originally started in St. Charles in the Market Shops location that now houses Alibi, on Third Street across from the Filling Station pub and grill.
It has been on Third Street in Geneva since 2009. Many consider this place one of our area's hidden gems. If you love coffee and tea, give this place a whirl.
True to Armenia:
Mike Dixon can't seem to avoid long-standing disputes in Eastern Europe. After a few years in Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer, he had to leave when hostility with Russia broke out.
The St. Charles architect has been in Armenia for the past several months and is scheduled to return home to St. Charles on Thursday.
But he's doing it in a roundabout way again, heading into the south regions of the country to avoid what appears to be another outbreak of war with Azerbaijan, an ethnic squabble related to the Karabakh region.
Through all of his Peace Corps experiences, Dixon has held true to one theme. He has come to enjoy the people of those regions and has grown fond of their culture and desires to live in peace like the rest of us.
On his trip to safer regions, Dixon wrote in an e-mail that he was the only person on a bus of 40 people who spoke English. Still, the Armenians' "hospitality and beauty was almost too emotional as I enter my last couple of weeks in service in the Peace Corps here."
Time for 'reflections':
The Volunteer Plaza just north of the St. Charles Municipal Building is getting a new sculpture for area residents to reflect upon.
OK, so it was a weak play on words, but the new sculpture by Guy Bellaver is called "reflections," 12 feet of highly polished stainless steel designed to be reflective of the nearby Fox River and the area around its location.
The St. Charles Arts Council says the project to honor volunteerism, as exemplified by Max and Doris Hunt, has been five years in the works.
As for the artistic interpretation, the sculpture represents the energy that comes from volunteers in helping their community.
The sculpture dedication takes place at 3 p.m. Aug. 16 at the plaza.
This beefy world:
There's reason for more cheerful anticipation in the food world in St. Charles. Buona Beef opens Tuesday on Main Street just west of Randall Road.
That means even more Italian beef sandwich choices in the area. That's never a bad thing in my world.
Video gambling debate:
St. Charles officials had the right thing in mind by planning to give the topic of video gambling in restaurants a fair hearing Monday night.
The revelation from the three-ring circus in Springfield this week that no video gambling revenue would be available to cities until a budget compromise may make it a moot point.
If it remains worth debating, I say use the old carrot-and-stick decision model. Let these places have the video devices, but yank them if they create problems or break rules as set by the city.
The city can use the money, and it is not likely to turn into Sodom or Gomorrah by allowing bars and restaurants to offer games in their establishments.