Our week with family, from both sides, finally came to an end. I hate saying goodbye! I try to find ways to avoid it. I psych myself out with magical thoughts of, “It will only be for a short time.” But, we all know differently…especially those of us who have families thousands of miles away.
There never seemed to be a lull in conversations. No awkward voids of “What do we talk about next?” There seemed to be a lot of anxious moments of “Oh, oh…I have something I want to tell you!” Then I step back and marvel at where the years went, as we all do, and more than anything, “Are we really this old?”
My sister, Leslie, and her daughter, Joni, cooked for us, made us laugh and make us appreciate them even more than we already did. It was so hard to leave. We only see each other every couple of years. Remember when families all lived close to one another? Before we all became so transient? Before we all grew older?
We looked at family photos and played guessing games of who looked like who? Do I really have their nose? Whose eyes do you think I have? Am I really your sister? I asked that question because both of my sisters used to tell me that I was adopted. But, then again, doesn’t that happen in a lot of families?
During our stay in Mesa, we had dinner with the Pilot’s second cousin…who we’d never met. I knew Amy through Facebook and was anxious for us to make the connection in person. And, what a connection it was!
We met Amy and her fiance, Julio, at the Olive Garden…where memories are always sure to take place over their good food. Hmmm…do I detect a theme again with this week’s blog? Anyway…what a reunion that was. We learned about Amy and her family and she learned about her Mother’s side and some of the family’s history.
I had to laugh because the first words out of Julio’s mouth were, “I heard your family was into Moonshine!” Ahh, yes. That little tidbit of information has followed the family for years. I wrote an article last year about the family’s involvement that included pictures. I referred him to it as I filled them in on some of the history.
An added surprise was that Amy had invited her Dad, who the Pilot had met years ago. Dale had been married to the Pilot’s cousin, Bethel, who died in 2003 and was a favorite of his. So, this meeting again was a bonus. By the way…Dale is now married to his high school sweetheart, Kay.
This is the Pilot on vacation. Yes, he’s still working. I’m showing you this photo because as soon as we left Texas, our home inspection business picked up like crazy and we had inspections that matched our numbers in 2008…before the real estate downturn. Huh…this is retirement?
We sat down to reassess our trip and the need to get back to Texas so the Pilot could get in a class and review some software. The Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert were cut from our schedule. In hindsight it was probably just as well because when I checked the weather in Grand Canyon it was going down to 23 degrees some nights. We’ll do this trip again in the future when the weather is more conducive…say in late spring.
We are now making our way back home via Roswell, NM, Odessa, TX (to visit with the Pilot’s Navy CO) and then into the Hill Country. The views on this trip have been exceptional.
The beauty of the desert never ceases to amaze me.
The gently blowing wild grass, with tufts pushing up above the clumps, lulled me into a peacefulness that you can’t achieve in the city.
I’ll close this week’s blog with my favorite photo so far. The beauty of these rocks and their shapes fascinate me and leave me in awe of God’s perfection. This particular photo just may be printed out to sit by my computer to remind me that there is a power greater than all at work.
The Christmas holidays found us decorating our RV home for the first time and we were pleased with the results as we put out decorations that had been a part of our lives for many years.
We put up our Christmas tree, albeit smaller than our usual tree. It sat proudly ensconced on our steering wheel. Along the dashboard were our different Santa’s and the garland from our mantle in our former sticks and bricks home.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t have outdoor lighting. We were enthralled by the RV groups that met here prior to Christmas and the inventive ways they decorated their RVs. It was nice to look out the window at night and see all the lights around the camp.
It was surprising to see how many RVs didn’t decorate for Christmas. The camp has been pretty empty during Christmas week. Maybe a lot of the RVers were heading for warmer areas and didn’t have the time to put up and then take down the decorations.
I did Christmas baking without any space problems. We overcame the death of our convection/microwave oven and moved forward. I’ll be writing about the RV Kitchen next week.
Christmas Day found us driving down the road for dinner with the kids and grandkids with Bad to the Bone playing in the background. That worked for us as a Christmas carol! We found that particular radio station after listening to other singers try to outdo everyone else with their version of a Christmas song…which ultimately left you wondering, “What song was that?”
It was so much fun walking through the door at my son’s house and being greeted by the grandkids as they excitedly showed us their Christmas presents. I’m always amazed at what these toymakers come up with each year. No matter how sophisticated or intricate the toys are…there’s always one toy that seems to make a child’s eyes shine. This year for Luke it was his $4.00 toolbox. For Addie, it was two new babies who were promptly named Pink the same as all of her other babies.
I had asked the Pilot the other day, “Where has the excitement and anticipation of Christmas gone?” I wondered if it was our age or if it was the way that a lot of people were anymore…rude, thoughtless of everyone else but themselves, selfish, etc. He was at a loss as well.
We rediscovered the excitement and anticipation through listening to the grandkids talk about their day and presents. Whew…I was beginning to feel like Ebenezer Scrooge.
We sat down at the dinner table with family…and extended family and remembered those not with us that day in our prayers. It’s always a whirlwind of laughter and trying to talk over the holiday music in the background with several conversations going on around the table. That’s one of the things that I love about getting together with family and friends.
Toward the end of the dinner the Pilot felt something against his leg.
It was Luke talking to Bella…under the table. He loves her and is always close to her whenever we come over.
Soon, there were two of us under the table laughing and talking to Bella.
And, finally there were three of us as Addie joined in. By this time we were giggling about being under the table and taking pictures. Isn’t this what holiday meals are all about? Okay…maybe some of you think that’s ridiculous…especially at my age. But, just wait until you are around your kids or grandkids and see how mature you act! You can’t help but feel their excitement and join in.
The time to open presents finally came and my grandson Timmy decided that he liked Luke’s helmet. Vogue…Strike a Pose…is the nickname I’m going to give him. We have all of these pictures of him in various poses and they crack us up.
He and his friends try to outdo each other…
Like this one!
Luke started opening presents before everyone gathered in front of the fireplace. He’s forgiven since he’s 2 ½ and was amazed by all the toys.
Bella kept sticking her nose in our Christmas bag filled with good smelling scents. I guess she thought it was for her. The Pilot comforted her after I’d told her no cookies.
The day finally came to an end. It had done its magic and we left feeling content. Calling for Bella, we left after all the hugs and kisses. Some of our Christmas hugs and kisses had to be done technically…via texting, phone calls and yes, Facebook.
Soon it will be time to pack away the Santa’s and other ornaments. But for now we’ll just enjoy the memories that were created this season.
May your New Year be filled with love and peace for our world.
New Year’s Day is the accepted time
to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
This past week found us at Phil’s Roadhouse & Grill not once…but twice. And, for good reason. Not only is the food good and the ambiance great, but we were able to relax and talk about a week that’s had us on edge.
We’ve been following the weather and news just as almost all of Texas has. We talk on a daily basis with our daughter who lives in Magnolia…where wildfires, as of Sunday morning, have burned over 21,619 acres in three counties, leaving in its wake 59 homes destroyed and scorched earth as a drawing board for a new life.
Living vicariously through my daughter, as she relays what steps they have taken in preparation for evacuation, I’ve learned a few lessons of my own.
I’ve found that as the Mother of a grown married daughter, with children of her own, that the pain in my heart over their situation doesn’t lessen with age…theirs or mine.
I’ve found that my family and grandchildren can still find humor in spite of the uncertainty of their future and the possible loss of everything they have. It’s good that they can still make me smile. It relieves some of the stress.
And, I’ve found that even though there was never any question of my love for my daughter and her family that my heart has grown fuller with Mother love and is filled with pride as I watch the example they set for us.
It wears you out to worry about kids…even when they’re grown. I found myself waking up at all hours of the night for a couple of days, wondering if they had to evacuate during the dark of night. Were they safe? Did they get everything they needed? The list is endless of the litany that plays in your mind as you worry.
Side Note: I chose this photo of Timmy to show you an example of the sense of humor that has been displayed during the wildfires. This particular photo was taken months ago when Timmy and his friends found these bathrobes in the store and couldn’t resist a photo shoot. I crack up laughing every time I see this picture.
When the Pilot and I get up each morning it has become our ritual to look out the windows to see if smoke is still in the air. And, it has been for over a week. It’s hard to breathe when you go outside so I find myself holding my breath and running for the car when we need to go somewhere.
One of the places that we went to is the subject of this blog. Phil’s Roadhouse and Grill sits just up the road from where we’re camped. We pass it each time we go to my daughter’s house. We finally decided it was time to try them out.
The roadhouse is built just like it says…it’s a house that sits right beside the road, isolated from other businesses but still a part of the community.
Your eyes are pulled in all directions to the décor that fill the walls of all the rooms. The biggest centerpiece of the roadhouse is undoubtedly the deer hanging on the wall. Not just hanging there but with their antlers wrapped in lights and proudly guarding the sign that hangs between the two of them.
There is tin along walls that are almost obscured by old signs. As you go down four steps into another part of the roadhouse, you know instantly that it was decorated by someone with a love and fascination of trains. There’s even a chalkboard train schedule for the Montgomery train over to Dobbin.
We think the sign directing you to the restrooms not only is clever but is in keeping with the theme of deer.
We love the food and the service is great. But, most of all, we loved the fact that it allowed us to take a deep breath and reorganize again. If you want to find your way there go to http://www.philsroadhouse.com/PHILS_6222007/index.html for directions…and other information.
I have plotted and replotted our trip numerous times trying to hone it down into a feasible and reasonably priced trip. I’m learning valuable things as I work our way on the map to our final destination.
Because it can be so expensive staying at sites up the East coast, I’ve been looking at the Bureau of Land Management and trying very hard to absorb Bob Difley’s suggestions about Boondocking along the way. Bob has a host of ways to enjoy your trip without feeling compelled to spend a fortune at some of the campgrounds.
If you’re interested, you can find his website at http://www.healthyrvlifestyle.com/. I earnestly want him to feel proud of our accomplishments along those lines and I desperately hope that we don’t embarrass him should we fail in one area or another.
So, we begin another week with higher hopes for all things normal….whatever normal is! It’s like Phil says, “It’s a state of mind.”