Monday, June 15, 2009
Beginning the Journey
Yesterday, June 14, after lots of good-byes to friends and family and one last hug with Brent, we began our drive to Sylva. I drove the Tahoe with Gah, and Mama drove my Vue with the girls and E.T., our bearded dragon. I would usually start a day-long drive very early in the morning, but my girls had their ballet recital the night before and I still had loose ends of things to do around the house. So, we did not leave home until 10 a.m. I was pulling a small trailer with a golf cart that helps Gah get around in the yard. Both cars were totally packed with stuff...clothes, games, groceries, electronic "necessities", books (of course!). We were blessed with traveling mercies. The road was pretty full, but no really bad traffic. Even with pulling the trailer, getting around Atlanta was not a problem. Thanks to Daddy for hitching the trailer and making sure we were safe travelers. Thanks to others who called to check on our travels and help me pass some road time and especially Miss Betty who called four times to make sure we were doing allright. Thanks, to Ed, our mountain neighbor who came over to get our water going for us and for the reassurance that his help is not too far away.
I did not get much sleep the night before this drive and was wondering how I'd ever pass at least 10 hours with Gah, who is very hard of hearing, so conversation might be limited. We started out with a crossword puzzle. I had some mix radio station on when she said, "I got some tapes if you want to hear em." She pulled out 3: Floyd Cramer, Oak Ridge Boys, and Mickey Gilley.
I took this as a hint. "Well, put in Mickey Gilley; I haven't heard that in a long time." She did not know how to insert a cassette tape which was another reminder for me to be prepared for generation gaps. I used my non-driving hand to help out with that, but it was not successful because the tape was old and squeaky. She did not seem to notice, so I told her that it was hard to hear it and I thought the tape was old, "No, it aint old. We got that when we went to see Mickey Gilley in Branson." hmmm, I think that was nearly 10 years ago. Then we discussed if Mickey was dead or not; I still don't know the answer to that. So, I put in a cd of Kathryn Scott which I thought would be pleasing to both of us. It has a track of What a Friend We Have in Jesus; Gah liked that part.
She is reading one of my favorite novels, Wish You Well, by David Baldacci. She would read a whole page or two between snoozes.
Mama and I chatted back and forth on cell phones some. My girls are really good travelers. We stopped in Valdosta and got some new bras. We tried to eat lunch at a Chic-fil-A that I once again forgot was closed on a Sunday. So, we went to Arby's. When we finally got to Franklin, we transferred the girls to our car and Mama went to Ingle's for some basic groceries. I was anxious to get home before dark to unhitch the golf cart and all that. I took the keys out of the ignition and could feel that familiar pit in my middle and a knot in my throat. I was trying hard to have some emotional control as I asked, "Gah, you doing allright, getting out here without Papa?" She just shrugged, "Wellll, yeah. Reckon I am." I guess that's really grace.
This mechanically retarded girl was able to get the cart off the trailer and unhitch with only two phone calls to her daddy. I was pretty proud of that. Gah was talking about her flowers and blueberries since Clayton as if they were friends she was excited to see. She immediately went to touch and inspect the plants before she went in to make tea. We forgot to put ice on the grocery list and Mama's cell phone had absolutely no service. Uh-oh, no ice! I drove the golf cart to our neighbors, but they weren't home. So, a little later, we had Digiorno's (Gah's request) and no drink. I reckon we are Southern enough that if you can't have iced tea with supper, you just boycott the whole drink issue.
There were nostalgic reminders of Papa's absence everywhere: his Ford Motors hat in "my" closet, stale graham crackers in the pantry, and boxes of tapioca pudding he liked me to fix him for a bedtime snack. I had to go out on the porch and call Dee. We talked for an hour or so about the day and being without him. Then, I joined Chloe for a few hours sleep.