A NEW EXPERIENCE

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IMG_0164Thinking today of the latest new experience in my life and thinking about my father. He left us at the too early age of 51 without any advance notice, and before we could even say our goodbyes. So I look at my old pictures and remember how I loved him and yet I never told him enough. When I was young it was not very common to say “I love you” unless there was something really serious going on. At least not in our family. And yet I loved him and I had no doubt that he loved me. We just didn’t talk about it very much. My father was a very quiet man, but he had a lovely smile. He instilled in me a desire to travel that has always stayed with me. In 1951 he and my mother managed to take us on a Western trip to Colorado and Wyoming in our old car, along with my Mothers parents. It was a major expense for them but also a lifelong dream of his.
So now this week I have thought about how he would have loved to participate in our latest adventure. For the first time in nine years we were to fly to Florida for the winter as snowbirds instead of driving. If you had ever seen our heavily loaded car in other years you would understand my anxiety as how I was going to manage. We’ve always taken our own apples, freshly made jam, and half of the kitchen sink with us. Being limited to two suitcases and two duffle bags seemed like an impossible task for us. For two weeks prior I made lists, multiple lists, about how I was going to cope with it all. But cope with it we did. Our children, Debra and Mike took us to Grand Rapids in our car, steered us into the airport and made sure our boarding passes were okay before returning home with our car. We had been advised to use wheelchairs for an easy get around in the airport. Everyone was helpful and two hours later we were enroute to StPetersburg, only two and a half hours. Unfortunately the plane arrived 35 minutes late in St Pete and our friend Virginia, waiting in the parking lot, became a little concerned as to our whereabouts. When we got off I was told there were 17 people using wheelchairs and they didn’t have enough attendants for them. So in the confusion someone took me in one direction and Bob in another. And for 15 minutes I couldn’t find him. Since he has a little hearing problem I knew he wasn’t going to hear any loudspeakers. A nice young man finally got me to the luggage and then he went looking, and he found Bob, much to my relief. We connected with Virginia and she said “Welcome to Florida,” and I said “Thank you, Virginia.”
Driving to Zephyrhills the traffic was unreal, across a miles long bridge, and I was so grateful for our great driver. I was tired after the long day, so quickly got out the Bunn coffee pot, and discovered it had died over the summer. And when Bob went out to turn on the water we didn’t have any. At this point I opened a can of cheese broccoli soup, we devoured it and headed for bed.
In the morning Virginia took us to Dade City where we had bought a used car from Jarrett Ford dealer online and that really worked out well. They couldn’t have been nicer. A friend fixed our water problem, we went to Walmart and got a new Bunn and groceries. We were in business again. All is well. We have survived our new experience and I know next time will be easier. Thanks for all the people who helped us along the way! And all of the prayers that were answered!

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