Summer made the most of its final days last week as we visited Missouri and Iowa, temperatures hovering at almost 90, high above average.
Let me share some of my most fun memories.
Murray sat at the kitchen table at my mom’s and called, “Ping-Hwei, come look out the window. There’s some cows out there, playing with chickens.”
We visited my Uncle Eugene and Aunt Joan. Eugene talked a little about his time in the army during the Korean war.
He said he had his basic training in Arkansas, then took the troop train from Kansas City to Seattle, a slow train. He said, “I went with two buddies. Each of our Moms gave us a box of fried chicken. The other guys on the train sure smacked their lips, but we didn’t give them a piece.”
I asked if Rodney could sit by me at the restaurant, because that was the only time we were going to see him, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hear to talk to him otherwise. He and Ping-Hwei called each other “You big dummy,” a twenty-year-old joke.
I slipped a ten dollar bill into one of my pockets. Later, when I threw all the trash in my pocket away, the ten dollar bill went, too.
Rebecca had a big story to work on while we were there. She said, “I didn’t plan for this to come up while you were visiting.” Her boss said it’s the story with the most impact he’s seen in the twenty years he’s been working there.
We had dinner with two of Rebecca’s coworkers, and they picked on her pretty fiercely. She told me, “Oh, it’s very mutual.”
One of them said Rebecca gets to do pretty much anything she wants to at the paper. He asked if she’s always been so stubborn, then said, “If she weren’t so darn talented, we wouldn’t put up with her.”
Rebecca wanted to take us to the new building they have for the animal shelter where she volunteers, but we didn’t have time. Murray and Ping-Hwei helped her vacuum the church, then we visited the piece of land where her friends are getting ready to build a new house.
This is the family Rebecca lived with when she first moved to Iowa, and while we were there, their six-year-old daughter clung to Rebecca the whole time. Rebecca said in the plans for their house, they have a room they call, “Rebecca’s room.”
We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and Rebecca said, “Several of the guys who work here are my boyfriends.”
On the way home, we found a couple fun sculptures at a visitors’ center in Indiana—a bicycle and a guy standing with his tongue stuck to a post.
I missed our animals, so I tried to make friends with too much excitement with the ones we visited.
My brother Jim’s sheep dog, reaching high above my waist and super long, jerked back from me and tried to run away with fright. One of my mom’s cats zoomed out of my arms before I had her for a second. And every time I even tried to touch Rebecca’s cat Millie, she’d cry with so much unhappiness, I finally relented and left her alone.
Our Esthers made up for it when we got home Sunday night. The dog ran through the house and shivered with happiness when she saw us. The kitty crawled into bed and snuggled in my arms.
It was a fun trip, but it is good to be home.
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