We just had the most relaxing vacation I have had in a very long time. I went an entire week with sporadic cell phone coverage only when I was in a town, which was pretty sporadic itself. I did not watch the news. I did not even check the weather. I did not wear makeup or even do my hair. It was just wonderful.
I watched my children enjoy Southwestern Missouri. I taught my boys how to read a map, which is a very important skill in these days of GPS's. I begged the boys to take pictures of the barns on the way down but only one good picture turned out. Next year they will be able to drive and I will do it myself.
|The only shot we ended up with, but whatta shot! Credit to Aaron, my youngest baby.|
I visited the cemetery, with the man who was my step-father growing up, while the kids went to the pool. We had such a good time reminiscing about the vacations of my childhood. I told him that, like him, I saw no point in leaving after the sun came up. I sat on Paula's porch and watched eagles glide over the Butterball turkey farm houses across the field. I helped a sweet boy who stopped to tell us the neighbor's cows were out round the cows back into the corral.
Only one thing bothered me, and I decided, finally, to confront it at last. As fate would have it, my father lives about 10 miles from Paula now. Tell me God didn't have a hand in that and I will laugh. I called him on Paula's phone one morning, since mine didn't work, and surprised him. I guess "surprised" is a bit of an understatement. With the boys still asleep, I headed over for coffee and peace talks.
We sat and talked for several hours. We re-hashed our entire lives. I told him about the blog. And when he started to apologize I stopped him and I told him that I had grown up a little bit. I said that no matter what he did or didn't do I had always loved him and always would. Then I asked him to forgive himself, because both of his children already had. During this struggle I have learned that it is a simple lack of faith if we can believe that God forgives us but we fail to forgive ourselves. Failing to forgive ourselves is to hold onto our hurt and guilt, and how can we have a clean slate if we do that? We can't. Following that thought, if we are forgiven by God, we have to forgive others the same way. I warned him that when he read the blog he would no doubt read things that would hurt him, but just to know that this is a pattern in our family and the cycle had to be stopped. He has had his own struggles with his own father, and just because he never talks about it doesn't mean that it isn't still there. If I have anything to say about it, this cycle will stop with me, and that there would be a new blog post coming with the title of "Redeemed", and that it was for him.
Then I went to get the boys and we spent the next couple of days with their Grampa.
|I admit it took me 40 years, but I finally got there. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.|
We drove the roads I love best in this world.
|Heading South into Noel, Mo., aka The Christmas City. First-timers on this road think this is pretty|
|Then their faces crease in concern as we get closer.|
|At this point they often scrunch down in their seats and ask if this is a good idea. I always just shrug and say that if it's not, scrunching down in their seats is probably not going to help much. Muahahahha|
Some of them are under bluffs with the river beside us, it's where you will end up if you go over the "guard posts" on the left side of this picture.
We took a float trip, just the kids and I, and I watched the twins have more fun together than I have seen in years. We had the river virtually to ourselves. The sun was hot and the river was cold, and even though I forgot to pack the mustard the sandwiches tasted like heaven. I was prepared for the river to be crowded with drunken, occasionally naked people. I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot of trash in the water, though, and The Beautiful Redhead was outraged by this, as she should be. People just don't have the respect they should have these days. But if you want to take a float trip that is crowded with drunken, half naked people, you can probably find it on the weekends. I chose the week day to avoid this as much as possible. The twins were pretty disappointed, but we all know their day will come. ;) At least I don't have to worry about them setting off without knowing how to maneuver a canoe. If float trips are not your thing, I highly recommend Shadowlake Bar and Grill to people-watch as people come into the last leg of their trip. Better entertainment simply cannot be found, take my word for this. By that time they are tired, sometimes passed out, and many relationships have either been forged in steel forever or are about to come to an abrupt end, also forever. Either way it's an experience no one will ever forget, least of all the people who are just sitting on the deck, enjoying a cold drink and taking it all in.
|Us, the river rat version. We sorely missed The Rock Star and his wonderful girlfriend.|
|Cowskin Public Access. Why Cowskin? No clue. It's always just been 43 bridge to us. I guess shooting gar off the bridge isn't the only thing people have done here. heeheehee|
|From the riverbed. It's low at this time. Those are exposed rocks where you can get out of the water. The sound those rocks being walked on make is a sound that is "home" to me.|
|Looking downriver. It used to be bluffs like that all the way up. I guess if you live long enough trees can grow anywhere, but it threw me off quite a bit for it to look so very different.|