Friday, April 6, 2018

Our Spring Trip West

I love this trip we make twice a year, to visit our daughter Rebecca in Iowa and my mom and brothers in Missouri. I’ll share some highlights.

When we got to Rebecca’s apartment Friday night and Ping-Hwei opened the front door—Rebecca left it unlocked for us—Ping-Hwei yelled, “Watch the cat.” That’s what we have to do every time we go through our front door at home, to keep our Eli in. Rebecca’s Milly is not so much trouble.

Milly does not enjoy our visit, however. Rebecca said Milly does not like her routine to be upset.

I asked Rebecca to let me hold Millie anyway, a solid, twelve-pound girl. Milly gave her loud, raspy meow (Murray said you can tell she was a smoker) and tried to get away. So I didn’t ask to hold her again, but snuck a pat whenever I got the chance.

I heard her purr for the first time when we were leaving Monday morning. Somehow she knew.

On Saturday for breakfast Ping-Hwei made scrambled eggs, and we had biscuits with one of Rebecca’s favorite jellies, raspberry-jalapeno. It always surprises me how much I like that.

Rebecca took us to the animal shelter where she volunteers and let me play with some cute puppies and friendly cats. She introduced me to her new cat friend, a sweet guy, Winslow. He had the best purr. Rebecca said she’d like to adopt him, but she can’t have another cat in her apartment. I told her if she got a house, she could have a dog, and any cat she wanted. She said, “Not right now.”

So many reasons I have to be proud of Rebecca, and I learned a new one this trip. Murray took a button-down shirt to wear to church Sunday, but it got wrinkled on the trip. He asked Rebecca if she had an iron and she didn’t. Yes! That’s my girl.

At Rebecca’s church on Easter Sunday, April 1, the bulletin held the important message: “Empty tomb; no fooling.”

The church held a celebration—excited music, lights, smoke, and a machine which shot confetti out into the seats. Jesus is alive.

My brother Jim built a house on Mom’s farm and stops by to visit every evening. One night we were talking with him about what he feeds his cows, including a syrupy food supplement which brings a smile to Mom’s voice when she sees the young calves licking at its fountain.

Jim said he sometimes feeds the cows from Mom’s barn, hay bales which she and Dad made thirty years ago. They’re still good and the cows still eat them. This is amazing to me.

Mom’s quilting group meets on Tuesday mornings, in the one room schoolhouse where Mom attended till she was in the eighth grade. We went with her this week.

There were some school pictures, more than sixty-five years old, and Mom asked Murray if he could tell which one was her. He found it at last and said, “I know that frown on your face. You weren’t happy to be at school that day.”

We had lunch with my brother Rodney, and I ordered salad while everybody else got hot dogs or pizza. My food arrived after everybody else’s, so I was still eating when they were all finished.

“Take your time, Kathy,” Rodney told me. “The last person done has to pay.”

I got disoriented and ran a couple times into Mom’s dish cabinet, an antique she calls a pie safe. It’s stood in the exact same spot in the kitchen my entire life.

Mom told me to be careful, not to break it. She said it’s an heirloom; it belonged to her grandmother, and my mom will be 81 next month.

One of the things I most look forward to is sitting for hours with my mom, chatting. We talked about books we’re reading, my kids, Mom’s neighbors, some of whose names are familiar from when I was a kid, about relatives, and Mom’s church.

Mom talked about a service people did from her community last spring. There were wild fires in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where farmers lost cattle, fences, feed.
Local businesses and individuals donated money and supplies, fence posts, hay, cattle feeders which high school students built. Three truck convoys from Mom’s community carried these supplies to Kansas.

Mom read stories to me she saved from the paper, about farmers helping farmers. She told me even though it’s been a year since then, it still brings tears to her eyes. She said, “There are still good people in the world.”

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