Thanksgiving and Travel

The entry to the little church at the cemetery where Dad is buried.
The entry to the little church at the cemetery where Dad is buried.

While in Rolla, I visited Mom/Dad’s plots at the local cemetery. My intent is to have a plaque placed to memorialize Wife at the foot of Mom’s plot. So, we looked around while I was there, talked a bit, and I got the contact information needed to make the call.

After they left, the Girl and I kicked around the cemetery a bit more, me hoping to find a geocache (and to just spend some time outdoors without it raining). There was no geocache, but the Girl and I had fun spending outside time together anyway.

I elected to drive out to Pilot Knob to pay Dad’s gravesite a visit. Although he died in 1995, I still talk to him and wish I had some of his insight and wisdom to draw on. I know he’d tell me to make up my own mind, but he had a way of asking questions and telling stories that provided some of the perspective I always seem to lack.

It’s beautiful little cemetery, tidy, well-kept, peaceful. I saw that my stepmom is still alive. I wandered around there for a bit, talking to my Dad and thinking back on the time we spent together. Those few days before he died are especially poignant. I remember standing on the front porch of his house, watching a thundershower and listening to the lightning — safe a dry… until the wind shifted and blew the rain in on us. Then we scattered back into the house to keep dry. I’m still laughing although it was 20-years ago.

On the way out I noticed the geometry of the entry to the little church. It needed a capture, so I made one.

The geocache across U.S. 63 was not to be found. The Girl and I had a nice hike anyway, at least unti she was spooked by shotgun fire across the way. She needed to coaxing to hop into the 4Runner when we left.

I spent a few more days with Mom/Dad there in Rolla. Thanksgiving celebration was wonderful and I’m honored to have spent it with the family.

I left Monday and stopped in Willard to visit my grandmother. She recently entered a nursing home there and I wanted to see her. She just turned 100-years old and that’s old by any measure. That she was in a nursing facility was not good news. As I expected, she’s not doing well and I think she’s ready to die and be released of her struggle. I can’t blame her for that and she greeted me with the same smile and grace that she’s always had, just weaker and tired. She went back to sleep as I spoke to her.

I wandered down through Arkansas the last couple of days, spending a lot of my time on State Highway 23. I collected a couple of geocaches, a few images, and spent a lot of time remembering. Nana will be gone soon. Three years ago Wife was struggling with her radiation therapy and this time of year is always an emotional challenge for me. I don’t think I’ll ever adjust to Wife being gone.

I know this comes up on this space frequently and sometimes it seems like I’m whining. But this is my reality. The loss of someone this close is not something one just gets over. There are times when the loss is more keenly felt and writing about it here is one way I process my grief.

This morning I dropped into Louisiana to pick up a geocache and collect another state. I drove through the northwest corner of the state, remembering the marshlands that make up most of Louisiana. Then I turned west and worked my way into Texas.

I started the process of procuring a marker for Wife. I’ll have it placed at the foot of her mom’s plot. There will be a permanent marker to remember her. I think it’s the last thing that needs to be done.

It felt good to be in Texas again. I stopped in Gainesville to spend the night. Getting access to the Internet was something of a problem, but it eventually was worked out. I got caught up on everything that needed doing and will soon call it a day. I don’t have a long day tomorrow, but I have been waking really early. Plus the Girl needs Walkies in the morning (as do I) and I don’t want to push it too late or it will be dark by the time I get to Lubbock.

I’m looking forward to seeing some family and friends this trip. I missed a bunch of them the last time I passed through, but those were different circumstances. I don’t have as much time as I’d like for this trip, but at least the time I have is mostly mine.

I have many things I’m thankful for. I spent time this morning remembering those things (including people) and prayed as I drove, thanking God for his kindness, grace, mercy, and for permitting me to have to wonderful people in my life.