There and back again…
Having traversed many a weary mile, and spent many a sleepless night in an unfamiliar bed, we have returned to our home in Oklahoma…
The trip went quite well and without any incidence of controversy or injury. We celebrated my youngest brother`s graduation and reposed in the welcoming bosom of our extended families.
Gaelynn & Israel entertained themselves with various books and toys, as well as the occasional interaction with Sophia – who was, herself, rather composed during the long drive Southward.
I must say that the two older children went above and beyond the call of duty in assisting us with Sophia during the many hours we had to spend on the road – in addition to the time we spent staying with family… Candace and I greatly appreciated their eager attentiveness to the needs of their baby sister.
Departing Saturday morning, we hesitated only for a brief “pit stop” in Turner Falls before continuing on our way.
We crossed the Red River into the great state of Texas before Noontide… just in time to hit the madness of the “Lunch Hour” rush of metropolitan Dallas.
Once in Texas, we stopped in Myrtle Springs to visit the grave of Candace`s mother… only for a moment`s reflection before pressing on, onward into the deep woods of East Texas.
We reached my parent`s estate in the early hours of the afternoon, whereupon my mother met her newest grandchild for the first time.
O how the warmth with which our arrival was greeted matched that of the sultry Summer`s day outside.
Talking and laughter lingered long into the fair Summer`s evening, and it was well after the stroke of Midnight before the house fell into the dark silence of an evening`s rest.
Sunday was a mad rush of activities, errands, and last-minute preparations for the afternoon`s graduation festivities. I smiled and slowly lumbered about my day, welcoming the crazed frenetic activity of the house like a long-forgotten familiar.
For tiny pleasures such as these, it is good to be back to the home of my youth… now, as a grown man with my own household, I can more appreciate many of the seeming annoyances I once endured.
The graduation was held in an amphitheater on the campus of Kilgore College… a marked improvement from the traditional venue of the antiquated high school auditorium.
A quick ceremony of lauds and remembrance… and then it was over. The culmination of deeds, accomplishments, and memories… turned within an hourglass.
Outside there was a murmuring throng of families and friends amidst the graduates clad in their shining emerald academic regalia.
Seeing my youngest brother, now grown to his novitiate adulthood, dressed in this manner was a misty-eyed moment for me.
After the ceremonies, we returned to my parents` home for a grand feast… and for a long laughter-filled session of group/family portraits being taken out in the front yard.
With a considerable portion of my extended family assembled in one location, it had the feeling of a family reunion of sorts… and yet it also had something of a “farewell” interspersed within the frivolity.
For the children of my parents` house have now all “grown up” and each of us face different destinies. Some of us are already married, some of us already have children – but all of us have dreams and ambitions for our lives… and none of us are following the same paths.
We stayed one more night in my parents` house, and one more morning… before we said our goodbyes in tear-stained sighing embraces.
Loading up our van again, we rambled down the tree-lined highways to the acreage of Candace`s maternal grandparents… nestled around a bend, just outside of the quaint East Texas town of Athens.
From there, Time seemed to melt into a long quiet interlude. Candace`s grandparents, like many people of advanced age and declining health, live their life at a leisurely pace.
It was good to spend some time with them over the course of a few days. As opposed to the hasty one-off visits we are usually limited to, we stayed with them for the better part of a week.
Soon it was time to turn our faces back Northward…
Though we would have liked to have stayed maybe another day or two, we knew it was time to come back home.
Once again packing our meager belongings into our doddering Van, we departed into the red Sunrise of a Thursday morning.
I must say, our return trip seemed to pass at a breakneck haste… likely due to how much in conversation I and my beloved were engaged. After such a visit, there was indeed much to be discussed… to say nothing of certain other developments.
We passed into and through Dallas in a matter of mere minutes, even with the occasional slowdown of morning “Rush Hour” gridlock.
No sooner had the Sun cleared the horizon than we were crossing the Red River into the land where the wind comes sweeping down the Plains.
Stopping off at Turner Falls, again, for a brief respite (and to partake of the greatest fried pies on the face of the Earth) – we were soon, again, homeward bound.
Candace and I talked for hundreds of miles… many things to discuss, and many more to discuss still. The children played and napped, and snacked and sang.
Music and human voices were thick within the compartment of our vehicle. Our family, in transit.
We arrived home before the town`s church bells tolled the Noontide hour.
Ah me… home is a welcome sight.