The last time we went on a family trip was in early March, 2020, right as things were closing down because of covid.
My mother recently moved into a senior living center, so we decided to go see her a couple weeks ago, and Caleb and Sarah said they wanted to go too.
We got a minivan, so we could be more comfortable. Sarah and Caleb, with his guide dog Hammy, sat in the back, Ping-Hwei in one of the middle seats, and Murray and I in the front.
Hammy is a very good dog, but he did sneak forward a few times, to just sit and watch Murray drive. Sometimes he moved forward with his head and shoulders between Murray and me, until Murray said, “The dog just licked my arm.”
After we’d traveled for a few hours and stopped, Sarah told me indignantly, “Caleb fed Hammy back there, and he slobbered all over me.”
As we got to Mom’s place Ping-Hwei said happily, “There’s the big dummy.” He and my brother Rodney have affectionately called each other that ever since they first met. I think it comes from the old TV show “Sanford and Son.” I was so glad the big dummy came to visit Mom while we were there.
It was often a crazy trip, trouble with the tail lights on the car, so that every time we started up again, Murray had to get out and make sure they were on. Trouble with the heat being on in the very back, even when Murray had the air conditioner on. Crazy hilly curvy country roads, busy city streets, trouble ordering food, no signs to be found on Mom’s building or our hotel.
We got up at two o’clock Saturday morning to leave early, so by the time we went to bed that night, we’d been up for twenty hours, and some of us were getting pretty grouchy. Yes! Me. I’ve got my hand up! But I was better the second night, and we had great hotel rooms with lovely breakfast provided, another thing we’d missed since we hadn’t been on a trip.
When we checked out Monday morning, the manager talked with us, just being polite, and Murray told him that Caleb used to work for another hotel chain. Caleb and the manager spent some time discussing how things had been different for both hotels for a while when covid was severe.
On our second day with Mom, we played two games of Scrabble. Sarah said she’d just watch, and Ping-Hwei did, too, but Caleb, Murray, Mom and I played. Murray kept getting a lot of points for each turn and Sarah said “What!” then, “You’re cheating,” and Ping-Hwei said, “Cheating.”
Another time, Sarah seemed to be trying to help Murray, and she said, “I don’t know why, but this time I’m rooting for Dad.”
Once Mom had to leave and go back to her room for a minute, so she told Sarah to play for her, and Sarah and Murray managed to get a triple word score for Mom. Murray won both games, but Mom was in second place at least once.
On Sunday night we visited Murray’s brother Myles’s and his family Heather and Melissa, and Murray’s brother Aaron came too. We had a lovely visit. Pizza dinner. And, happily, Melissa made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing from scratch. We were kind of full, but I said, “Oh, we’re definitely staying for dessert.”
Melissa has two six month old puppies, half poodle and half schnauzer. “Schnoodles,” Myles said. They were very excited, and wanted to play with Hammy. Even when Caleb let Hammy loose, he didn’t spend much time with the puppies, but when one of the puppies put his feet on my leg, Hammy quickly stood up and shoved his head on my lap, reminding me who was the dog I was supposed to be paying attention to.
I brought one of my braille Bible volumes to read along the drive, to help keep Murray up to date with his reading through the Bible in a year. Once when we stopped Caleb asked, “Was that Isaiah you were reading earlier? I thought it sounded like Isaiah.”
It was Isaiah.
It was so good to see Mom and Rodney. And even though we had some craziness on the trip, I love the people I got to share it with.