If you’ve experienced winter in the Midwest, you fully understand the appeal of going South during the cold months. We decided a few months ago to make late January and all of February our month to head for the warmth of Texas.
Why Texas? Well, that’s a good question. Our first winter trip to Texas was the Cotton Bowl, New Year’s Eve back in 2000 or so. Dallas was a sheet of ice. The game was frigid and miserable, though our team, KSU, won the game. Several years later KSU played in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. So, you know, that’s further south than Dallas. It’ll be warm and sublime. Nope. Temps in the low 50’s and cold rain the entire time. Even on our side trip to Port Aransas on the Gulf.
But January/February should be much better. Right? Much better than Kansas. Right?
The new year, 2022, came right on in the door and sat down. Looking suspiciously similar to the past two years. I feel certain that I’m not the only person on the planet who is done with the pandemic. Every news clip on COVID, vaccines, deaths, hospitalizations? I just can’t anymore. Not that I don’t care. That’s not it at all. I do care. The numbers, the news, the pictures, the personal stories really break my heart.
This morning when I woke up my mind was filled with an intensely awful memory from when I was around 5 years old. Involving a life altering event to my parents and sisters and myself. You won’t get details, but the effects of that event were permanent and sad. Anyway, as this flash of memory hit my brain waves I sensed God asking me “Can you be thankful even though….?” What a difficult thing to ponder. Especially at 5 in the morning. I couldn’t answer right away.
Aging has been working overtime on me, it seems. Good grief. Sagging parts. Wrinkles in the most unusual places. More chins than anyone would ever possibly need. Curious bumps and spots on my skin, some that can be frozen off by the derm doctor. Of course they find their way back to new locations, and bring their friends with them. Oh, but they are “harmless”. Except for the bruises to my psyche.
And then there’s the occasional unexpected meet-up with the ground, courtesy of gravity. Trips, but not the kind of trips I like to take. And not so very harmless. I’d show you the most recent scar, but it’s happily buried under the hair in my left eyebrow.
It’s February. Valentine’s Day happens this month every year. Every year romantic couples celebrate each other with tokens of love. Such a sweet thing, but seriously it’s over-sold in my opinion. Money Making Marketing ploy. And so many folks left out because they have no romantic person in their life. Okay, mini-rant over, let’s move on…
In your own experience, who has historically been the parent most likely to shop for and/or create all the gifts given in your family? For me it was my mother. As a result, I really don’t remember many details about the gifts she gave me. Except that she generously gave to her children. So many gifts over the years. And so much of herself.
Of all the road hazards one can experience, fog causes me the most fear.
Growing up, my parents didn’t really give me any “rules” to follow. Never told me what time to be home or where not to go/what not to do. !! Did they just trust me that much? I don’t know. When I think about their life with the challenges of my oldest handicapped sister, and my dad’s terminal illness, it seems likely that they were just overwhelmed and exhausted. In return, I saw their struggles and honestly did not want to do anything that would add to their stress. I was chronologically “young”, but I was “old” experientially. I don’t really think I was a challenging teenager.
We like to travel. Actually, we love to travel. I was born with the “let’s go” gene. And I believe the hubby was, too. So, we have done a lot of traveling when possible. Life has put a bit of a cramp in that plan, but still, we travel.
Recently as we were walking on one of our favorite trails at the lake where we’re camped, I said, “You’re 68. I’m 67. We need to determine the things we want to do, places we want to see while we still are able to do such.” He replied, “We still have thirty years of living for all that”. And he’s the math whiz??
What speaks to your soul? For me, it’s almost always the wonders of God’s creation. We travel a lot to beautiful mountains, lakes, oceans, and so on. But sometimes the wonders of creation are in my own backyard.
Today is Father’s Day. This is my daddy, whom I have written about often. We had 17 years together. I’ve had 50 years of life beyond those 17 years. Without him. Do I miss him, even 50 years later? Well, yes.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times. Words like “mind-numbing terrain”. “It’s so boring”. “There’s nothing to see”. “Longest drive ever”. Any guesses what these words are describing? Well I’ll go ahead and give the answer: Western Kansas. I-70 in particular.
And I have to be very honest, I’ve uttered those words myself over the years. Shame on me.
My oldest daughter has an SUP. Stand up paddleboard, in case you need to know. Her mother-in-law also has one. They rave about how fun they are, how easy they are to use, how great the muscular work-out they provide.
So I sure enough wanted to try and see for myself last November in the bay water of Palacios, Texas. Perhaps I should have received warning signals from the opposing phrases “easy to use” and “great work-out”. But, of course, I didn’t. Read on.
I had a “moment” the other day. It all started when I saw my hairbrush while getting ready for the day. It was full of gray hair. FULL of gray hair. And in that moment, I “saw” my mom. Of course when my eyes lifted to look in the mirror, there she was again.
The day was Sunday. As we were in church right before the service was to begin, a young woman and her very young daughter walked down the aisle next to where we were seated. She took a seat in the pew in front of us and to the left a bit. It was the front row of our section in the very large church we attend. No one else was sitting near them, giving us a close up view of the two of them.
I grew up in a really small town in northern Kansas. Minneapolis. Not THE Minneapolis. No, when saying where we’re from, I’m certain every former and current resident always adds the important qualifying word: KANSAS.
For most of the month of November we’ve been volunteering at a faith-based camp on the Texas gulf. Palacios by the Sea is a lovely little spot in the universe. So low-key and friendly. About 4600 folks call Palacios home. It’s bordered by a lovely bay that connects to the Gulf of Mexico. By the way, for those of you word nerds who need to know how Palacios is pronounced: Puh-lash-us
Do you like to wait? When we go to restaurants and see more than 10 people in line generally we turn right back around and leave. That’s how much we like to wait. Once in south Wichita I was stuck in my car waiting on a train, and it turned into a 45 minute wait. Then I learned this was the norm for that particular area! I just can’t think of anything I really enjoy waiting for. Not food, not trains, not telephone calls on hold. I could go on and on.
We were driving through the Flint Hills of Kansas yesterday. Isn’t it beautiful?
Maybe you do this too……read on.
There are homes in this picture. You can’t see them well from this view but I assure you they are there. We drove down several lovely country roads while driving to and from this location. The views were just stunning, I’m not exaggerating. And as usual, I love seeing the homes on these acreages. On absolutely serene looking acreages that just scream “Perfect Life”. Do you know what I’m talking about? I look at these homes and think how awesome it would be to live there.
So….do you dream and imagine and envy a bit on drives like this? Like I do?
After a long period of time with no volunteering trips with our RV, we finally finally are able to get back out there and go. As I mentioned in my blog post titled “Purpose and Plans”, everything kinda stopped in 2020 for us due to Rotten Rona. In 2019 we began the volunteering plan, in 2020 it screeched to a halt. Only two projects total for us and BAM, done.
Against my better judgment I’m fixing to tell you a camping story. With details I’d prefer not to share. Go ahead and read, but I may need you to sign a waiver first promising you won’t share info. Reality check, Simply B, that can’t happen. They’re going to read it anyway. Well, okay, here goes.
Every single year the hubby and I take at least one camping trip to Colorado. Every year we are joined by at least one of our daughters and her family, often there are three families involved. This year our trip included seven (7!!) families from my branch of the family tree. For a full week in the mountains.
** Spoiler alert** we all love each other. No dysfunctional family drama involved. That’s not the forbidden info.