The past couple weeks found us on the Midwest road trip. Lucky were we to have no weather issues leaving the roads easily traveled. We spent valuable time with family members and created memories to carry in our hearts and minds.
I was raised on a farm in Iowa and both my parents are buried in a small rural cemetery near by. We stopped in Council Bluffs, got a nice hotel room at Holiday Inn & Suites by the river, for an over night stay so we could make a stop by in the light of day. It was Friday night and our hotel was in the same parking lot as the Ameristar Casino. We wandered over and found the casino to be packed. Table games, slot machines, restaurants, all were very active. A table game we had not played before caught my hubby’s eye. Heads Up Hold ‘Em. He was in for a hundred after sizing up the game. This was a new one on us and as we chatted and he gave me explanations, I could see his odds mind clicking. We walked away with a couple nights hotel room fees covered and had some fun. Time well spent! I recommend a leisurely stop in this territory if your travels lead you here or if the territory is home it would make for a decent “staycation”. Ask for a river view room. Watching the Missouri River flow by with ice masses here and there against the drab of winter time tree and grass covered banks against a clear blue morning sky was extremely calming!
The sun shone brightly this day as I adorned my parents headstone with Valentine wreath and flowers. The connection to the earth, their souls, the beauty of nature, the warmth of this season’s sun, soothed me. Feelings like these are hard to explain but very real. Standing there at my parents graveside I felt my being come back in to balance. The love of parents, home and the stability they represented resonated in my heart. I chatted out loud to them and was torn as I bid them good bye, feeling the loss as clearly as the days we laid them to rest, here together perched on this rolling hill to take in the cornfields and sunsets together in to eternity. We drove by what had been my family farm, my childhood home and years of happy memories flooded over me, giving me a feeling of fullness once again. This ritual of mine of “coming home” always makes me feel secure. Even now. Parents gone. Farm sold. Just being in the environment seems to wash away any perceived negative of life that has seeped in to me since my last visit. This practice cleanses me, renews me, strengthens me. We made a quick stop to see my single Uncle. He’ll turn 90 this spring. Living life alone, on his own terms as he’s always done. I’m very proud to have him as part of the family I’ve always known was right there to count on. We continued on to spend an evening with my brother and sister and their spouses. It’s amazing what hugs can do for the soul and how the bonds of family should never be discounted. I got to personally give a heartfelt gift (designed and made by a dear friend, at my request) to my sister. Moments to cherish, value of family. My heart is full again.
We made our way on for what had spurred on this “necessity travel”. My father in law has been diagnosed with lung cancer, metastatic. We are leaving the country soon. We couldn’t see ourselves doing that without insuring some precious time with him. Oklahoma was our next stop. We spent quality time with him, my brother in law and wife, nephew and fiancé, great nephews and other extended family. Laughter and warmth rang amongst us as we gathered at my brother in laws home. Again our hearts were filled, yet saddened at the same time. This is life. This knowledge that someone who has been a constant is nearing the end. No matter what, it just isn’t easy to accept, to grasp. Please Lord don’t let him suffer, give him strength. Watch over those who tend to him, care for him and most of all, keep our family strong. Philosophy of life is part of my goal with this blog and pondering meaning while sizing up death is part of that. While I like to keep it light hearted I also appreciate these indulgences to try to express myself as well dear reader.
A trip to the “city” on our last day gave us the opportunity to take in our first professional sporting event of 2018. Thunder hosted the Wizards and it was a good showing. The Chesapeake Energy Arena was full, the fan spirits were high and we had seating for 5 behind the basket. This was a fun break with some of the fam which we all enjoyed.
Our drive home led us across Kansas and we arrived late into Denver and decided to spend a day relaxing indoors poolside and in the jacuzzi. Suddenly my man says “Can you be ready to leave in fifteen minutes?” “Well ya I guess, why?” Haha. Great seats at a ridiculous price was why! We were off to the Nuggets vs the Mavericks, center court, 3rd row. Stellar view. Every time a play was reviewed we had a birds eye view and could hear all the chatter. Pro sports entertainment 2018 at the Pepsi Center did not disappoint!
We have now dropped our truck in Boise and flown into Reno to enjoy Super Bowl LII. Our anticipation is building for our exodus across the Pacific. In a few short days we will make our third trip to the Land of Smiles. I hope you’ll join us as we discover more of what this great world has to offer!