Friday night our friends came over for dinner and to share photos of their recent trip to Alaska.
Be. Still. My. Heart.
Eagles, whales, glaciers, quaint fishing towns....it was like a trip through National Geographic with our friends superimposed in the photos! Alaska is my dream vacation. Buzzard promised me when we got married that if I put up with him for fifty years he'd take me there on our golden wedding anniversary. I'll happily continue to stay by his side after seeing those photos. I'm counting the years (or decades) until my own whale watching excursion. Lucky for me, Buzz is a pretty fun guy to hang out with in the meantime. :)
Saturday I visited with a friend of mine who moved away eight years ago. We used to be part of a quilting group together at our church. She retired to a small town, bought a cute little house, and now spends her days happily creating one spectacular quilt after another and racking up grand champion ribbons from the county fair. She brought her latest accomplishment to show me. It was an intricate applique masterpiece that she completed in eight days. Eight days is about how long it takes me to sew on a button.
Saturday also looked a little crazy because we pulled together some travel plans. I got the call that my friend's father passed away after a two year battle with brain cancer. I've heard it said that it's better to have cancer than for cancer to have you, and Mr. Bob was living proof of that. He was, in every sense, a valiant model of a life well lived. Diagnosed two years ago, he spent every drop of physical strength he had living life to the fullest, and dedicating every victory to the Lord he dearly loved and served. God blessed him with two years here on earth, not a moment of which was wasted time. He was the greatest of the great, and my life is one of countless many that is changed for the better for knowing him. Mr. Bob's motto was a simple one....
"CAN'T NEVER CAN DO ANYTHING!"
Amen! I wanted to be at the funeral to see my friend, and to thank Mr. Bob myself for teaching me those words that I will never forget. So, Hannah and Emma and I made tracks for Minden, Louisiana, leaving behind a sick dog, two boys who needed to pack for camp, and one Buzzard with a slight glow above him that resembled a halo. Our departure was made possible by my precious friend Melinda who, in a moment of pure weakness, agreed to pick up my wiggly and giggly boys early Monday morning and drive six hours, with her own two wiggly and giggly boys, to summer camp in Arkansas. If anyone could register four boys for camp, unload four camp trunks, make four bunk beds, install four oscillating fans, and impart last minute truths and warnings about the importance of sunblock, deodorant, and clean underwear to four wiggly and giggly campers in hundred degree heat, it is Saint Melinda. Melinda is so darn good at what she does that she even talked Max into putting sheets on his filthy, vinyl mattress, which I later found out he had no intention of doing. Melinda is all that AND a bag of chips, and I just keep hoping that if I hang around her long enough, some of her Melinda-ness will rub off on me.
The funeral was an inspirational celebration of life, and my friend, poised and eloquent, delivered her father's eulogy. It was breathtaking. Emma did great in the hotel, which was a completely unexpected surprise since she equates sleeping in the pack and play to a completely unacceptable form of torture.
Monday afternoon we rolled out of Minden with our trusty, rusty GPS system to guide us. Buzzard, a very high tech bird, insists that we travel with "Lola" on our dash to give us directions. The plan was to head to Hot Springs, Arkansas to visit my Dad for the week. Lola put me on the highway from Louisiana headed due west. West, I tell you. My sharp geographic perceptions told me something was awry. But alas, we travel with no paper maps, so I could not calculate an alternate route. So, I called Buzzard and tattled on Lola. I've never been a huge fan of Lola, even though Buzzard keeps touting her supposed expertise. Even I know that Arkansas is to the east of Louisiana. Sure 'nuff, Lola had us on one wacky trail, involving a forty minute jog west, a minor detour down a dead end side street, and a twisty two lane road north. I'm sure it's possible there could have been a less efficient way to get to Arkansas. Maybe. We could have crossed the continent in the time it took us to cross the state line.
The good news is, we've arrived in Hot Springs and are all settled in at my Dad's house. (No thanks to Lola.) The boys are at camp, sweating up a storm I am sure, and hopefully having a ball. Buzzard is at home, tending to our sick dog and helping out my one armed mother, who he is affectionately calling "Lefty" these days. Our week is off to a great start, and Emma continues to sleep well in the playpen. I'd say I just can't believe how this crazy week has all come together in the end, but in the words of someone wise I once knew, "Can't never can do anything".