We slept late, took care of the animals, got ready for church, and headed to town. After the service we decided to take a vacation.
The truck headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway, so off we went. All crowded together, we talked about all the places we wished to go visit.
"How about we go to Mamaw and Papaw's house in Texas for lunch?"
"I wanna go to France!" piped up Rose.
"No, let's go to Ireland!" "Scotland!" "Russia!"
We dreamed of a 3 week long vacation to somewhere exotic. No, make that a month. Didn't even spend a minute worrying about what we would do with the farm animals.
Before you know it, the truck found its way to Peaks of Otter and then to a Mexican Restaurant somewhere in Bedford, I think.
We haven't been to a Mexican restaurant in ages. It truly did feel like a vacation, even if only a three hour one.
The six of us laughed and ate and hopped into the vehicle to head back to town. This afternoon we met others at Westminster Presbyterian to share dinner and a slideshow with other families whose kids went to Camp Braveheart over the summer. The camp is led by Martha Furman and sponsored by Gentle Shepherd Hospice. The kids climbed rock walls, did rope courses, went canoeing and rafting and also spent time talking about their loved ones who died, shared about their grief and journaled, did artwork and hiked.
I was deeply moved to see the pictures of the kids. The grief group is a very safe place for them to be able to feel and it is powerful. We ended the evening there by tying a piece of paper with our loved one's name on it to a balloon. Then we all went out and released the balloons. Seeing them fly up, higher and higher made Maggie and me very sad. Seeing the children each grieve in their unique way made me sad because I hate to see them go on without their father. He was such a good dad. He played with them. Loved them. Read to them. Disciplined them.
Got back home and sure enough, Duncan had pushed the gate open again. I changed clothes and took an evening hike. As we drove home, we opened the windows once we hit our valley. Patrick and I decided that the smell of tall fescue in the evening after a hot day is one of our definitive "home" smells. I wish I could embed it into this blog post. Taking my hike through the bottom field gave me more time to enjoy that most earthy and lovely end of summer smells. Rich and almost sweet. The middle field hasn't been mowed and the fescue makes the hill look like a watercolor painting with a wash of light gray purple. Different than lavender or lilac. More warm. Soft. Rich.
The herd was down at the bottom of the field, happily grazing. They obediently headed to the barn. Duncan and Ribeye played and frolicked, kicking up their heels in the cool of the evening. I separated Coco with minimal effort. I noticed that Dulce (or is that Carmelita?) has grown and her halter needs to be removed. Just the other day it was so big and loose on her.
Time for another chapter of The Princess and the Goblins. Then to sleep and sweet dreams to get ready for week 2 of the school year. Isn't it funny how a simple little road trip has made us all feel a bit more refreshed? Maybe we will dream of France and Italy and Ireland and Japan and Texas. And Russia. No passports needed.
PS This weekend my grandparents honored their 73rd anniversary. What an amazing story. Mom went to visit them and heard stories of their courtship, their marriage and early life. Grandpa would ride his horse to the bottom of the hill, tie it up in the barn and go to visit. Most of their dates involved going to church where he would preach and she would play the piano. If they were really lucky and he had enough extra money saved up, they would borrow his father's car after church and go to the pharmacy to buy a nickel coke. They spent most of their married life in the home that Grandma's grandfather built, in Rogers, Arkansas. She played the organ and piano at home and at church for decades. He preached for even more decades, and until just a year ago or so wrote online Bible studies for many people. Parkinson's and other ailments have sent him to the bed. His end is near and he is looking forward to it. So is hers. They are ready, but were happy to spend some time with my mom and her sister this weekend.
I am sorry I don't get to see them more often. Am thankful for the heritage they have given me. I love them and hope that my children will get to marry and live and love for many many decades to follow in their footprints.