Yes, road trips. We made two in September and October, and Murray and Ping-Hwei and I are so easily entertained, we came away with many fun memories.
In September we took our trip west, first to Iowa to visit Rebecca, then to visit my mom and brothers in Missouri.
I enjoy Rebecca so much. I told Murray I wish I could see her more than two days twice a year, and then I realized that’s how often my mom gets to see me too.
Visiting the animal shelter where Rebecca volunteers is always a highlight. When we come in, we’re greeted with a cacophony of dogs barking and cats meowing at us. Rebecca brought me two dogs, one fluffy and bouncy and happy.
The other she said was a long dog. And truly he was, but even better than that--his ears were eight inches long and opened up like an umbrella.
I played with cats in cages who loved to lick and bite. They licked a lot. First I thought they could still taste the orange I’d had for breakfast, but after I washed my hands, they still continued to lick, so I figured they just thought they were dogs.
Rebecca and Steve took us to see their garden, lots of hot peppers and tomatoes, a really tall sunflower, green onions, herbs, a watermelon the size of a basketball.
We brought home some of their homemade salsa, some made with tomatoes and peppers, others made with watermelon or pineapple. Pretty good stuff really, although most of the time I needed lots of water while I ate them.
In Missouri, even in the middle of September, we had weather in the 90s. We had such a short summer in Ohio, I actually loved standing outside in the hot weather. For short periods of time.
We went to Mom’s quilting group, mostly retired women. But one lady comes with her five year old daughter, who is a delight. One of the ladies told me, “She’s put some life into this old place. Never boring around here now.”
Murray told people at quilting that he found out there’s a knitting-quilting group at our library, and he told someone there that he quilted. They asked how much, and he said, “Oh, about twice a year.”
My brother Jim had newborn twin calves right at the time we visited. That’s rare; Mom said she thinks they’d only had twins once in all the years she and Dad raised cows. So that was fun, getting to hear about Jim bottle feeding them until the mama and calves all got used to each other.
We visited Sarah in Wisconsin this past weekend.
It’s almost embarrassing the things that can please us as we drive along. When Murray refused to take the exact directions of his phone’s GPS, it would beep and say, “Make a U-turn; make a U-turn!” Almost frantic. Ping-Hwei and I always laugh at this; Murray is not so amused.
When the GPS mentioned how heavy the traffic was and that there was roadwork up ahead, I started considering other things they should be able to do. “If they can do that, they should be able to say when to stop and go at traffic lights. That would be so helpful for blind drivers.”
Passing by one of the lakes in Madison, Murray told Ping-Hwei, “Look at that big lake.” I said it wasn’t as big as our lake. Murray said no, it wasn’t a Great Lake. I said no, but it was an Okay Lake. Murray said it was a perfectly Decent Lake.
Another time as we drove through Madison, Murray, Ping-Hwei, and Sarah noticed people fishing in a boat on the lake. Ping-Hwei said he’d like to go fishing and wondered about cooking the fish. Sarah said no, you’d release them again after you caught them.
I talked about when I was a kid, and Daddy and my brothers went fishing, and brought the fish home to clean and eat. I remembered how Daddy would give me the lungs of the fish to play with. “They were slimy, but they were like little bubbles I could pop.” Sarah was disgusted. “Oh, Mom, did you wash your hands?” “Never since then,” I replied.
Sarah had a lot of school work to do while we were there, so boring people that we are, we were perfectly happy to just sit around her apartment, on our computers or kindles, chatting on and off. She said she liked having us around to chat at. For the first day anyway.
We went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. When the host asked how many were in our party, we spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out if there were four or five of us. With that, plus our normal loudness, Sarah will probably never go to that restaurant again.
So many smiles I brought home from these trips.