This spring mom and I went on a sojourn through seven states, visiting friends and relatives. Our plans were simply to visit relatives in Dallas, Texas. But it evolved into much more.
We started off in Searcy, Arkansas, visiting my son at Harding University. We spent several nights to feed Chad. He participated in a Spring Sing so we watched him and others we knew perform a fun musical. We fed Chad some more. We spent Easter Sunday with him and it was really great worshipping together. We had Easter dinner with Chad, his girlfriend, Ellen and her family.
It’s a comforting feeling to see your kids in a “good place”. Yes, Harding is good but I mean a good place in their life. It was a wonderful visit.
Mom brought along some hand work for a bow tie quilt she is making for me. She wanted to make a square at each of our stops. The first was stitched in Searcy. We both made one sitting up in bed each evening after a busy day with college life. Stitching memories.
Next we were welcomed into the life and family of a sweet lady named Lori. We met via Instagram and have been online friends for a while and happy to say are real life friends now. Her parents welcomed us into their home and we ate together and visited and oohed over her arrowheads and aahhed over her vintage sewing collection and laughed at her dad’s stories of growing up in a huge family. We antiqued, geocached and saw the sights together. Lori and her parents showered us with love and gifts from their sweet souls.
Lori’s mom, Kathy shared some red fabric from her stash to add to my quilt. Mom stitched several blocks while visiting in Oklahoma.
When I think back on these special few days, I see Lori’s dad in his Sunday best overalls, giving my mom a sturdy arm to the car and Lori’s mom chilling the orange juice glasses for breakfast and Lori sweetly wrapping treasured gifts and placing them at our seats before our last meal together. Cherished time with new friends who instantly felt like old friends.
Continuing on to Dallas, a friend told us we should stop in McKinney. And are we ever glad we did. It was the neatest town with many quilt shops and amazing resturants and shops. We could have easily spent days here. Adding more red fabric and a new favorite place we drove on into Frisco.
We were invited to stay at my mom’s cousins house. Pam and Steve welcomed us into their lavish home with yummy iced mango tea, served with lace linens she had bought from my etsy shop! Pam is so thoughtful and made us feel at home. Steve has a wonderful collection of fossils and I know if I lived closer, I’d be like his neighborhood kids, bringing rocks over for him to identify. We ate Texas Barbecue with mom’s aunt and uncle, June and Wesley and her other cousin, Steve and his family. Over funerals had been our last visits, so it was great to visit and catch up “just because”.
I was sitting by my mom’s uncle, Wesley. I asked him if he had any good “Pappy” stories. He thought I said “Aggie” stories so he told me many aggie jokes! I didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise. But eventually I got some stories about my grandfather to remember.
Again, mom stitched, sitting over coffee in Pam and Steve’s home.
We drove over to Fort Worth and met another online Instagram friend. Jenn treated us to lunch and we had a splendid time meeting her and we loved her just as much as we thought we would. Adorable Jenn!
While in Fort Worth, we went to find where my great grandparents old house was and where they were buried. I remember this house vividly as we spent Christmas here and visited often. It looked as I remembered, mostly. I would have loved to go inside.
Although I was eight when my great grand mother Tease died, I can remember so much about her. I recall her being sick and in the hospital. Dan and I colored pictures for her. I drew a picture of her and colored her hair green. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by coloring it white. My parents snuck me and my brother in the hospital to see her and she had our pictures pinned up to her curtains. My dad asked me to tell Tease why I colored her hair green. I was reluctant to tell, as I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I was encouraged by my parents to tell. I still remember her sweet expression and laugh and the hug she gave me.
I also recalled the day she passed away. I had gotten up and was going to surprise my mom by getting ready for school all by myself. I put on overalls because I could put those on easily. Mom walked in and said she was going to let us sleep in, because we were leaving for Texas that day and told me why. I remember the next few days clearly. I remember the limousine drive and the huge trees in the cemetery.
So looking for her grave was important to me, to pay respects but also to find family. There is a wonderful service that volunteers do, to document graves across the whole world for people to be able to locate relatives. (Find a Grave) Because of this source, I found the exact area she could be found. It was quite a large area and mom and I strolled under the tall oaks looking for it. Mom said it was at least 3 city blocks! We had given up and was going back to the car when I realized I had locked my keys in the car.
While talking to the locksmith, I found her and my great grand father. And while waiting I found a geocache not 200 feet away too. It was a neat experience. I visit many old cemeteries but to visit one that really means something is special.
And the locksmith said I was his first customer to be in a cemetery. I’ll be remembered.
As we turned our direction due east, we stopped in Longview. We went and found my grandfather, Pappy’s grave in a cemetery outside of town. We had some help with a nice map and found him without too much trouble. Being a veteran, he had a nice gravestone marker. I see many veterans in cemeteries, so I was especially honored to stand here with mom and recognize him and his service.
We then visited, another of mom’s uncle, Albert, and took him some pie. I saw some of his art work he painted. I could see Pappy in him and in Wesley. So kind and interesting. The visit too short.
We went to visit mom’s brother, Scott, who lives in the house she grew up in. Pappy built it with the help of his brothers when they returned from the war. Many memories.
Scott had been having a yard sale and we looked through his sale. When I got to the car I decided I wanted an eight ball he had on the $1.00 table or maybe it was a quarter. I have a bowl full of eight balls. Scott said there is a story with that ball. So of course I wanted to hear it. In 1996 he was playing pool and a car came crashing into the pool hall and knocked him and the tables over. (he wasn’t hurt) As he lay on the floor this 8 ball came rolling by him. He scooped it up and stuck it in his pocket. I had to take a picture of him with it. Great story. I don’t keep it with my other 8 balls. It’s special.
We visited two more cousins before we headed home. We met Beverly for lunch and we had a wonderful time catching up and then stopped by Lona’s horse farm just out-of-town. It was a beautiful place to call home.
The little dog, Scruffy, was my mom’s sister’s dog and Lona adopted him after Dana died. He was quite a happy guy with his new life.
I must say, I thought the Texas leg was mostly for my mom, but I loved every second of meeting MY relatives too. We have a place to call home in Texas, and that makes me happy. I also loved the stories the visits brought up that I hadn’t heard or was glad to hear again.
On the way home we reflected on our journey. It was fine in every way. The accumulation of the stories, the laughter, the meals and friendly faces composed something akin to the quilt mom was/is working on. All sorts of fabrics, patterns and colors make the quilt interesting and beautiful. The people, the homes, the laughter and sweet conversation are woven together into a cherished keepsake. Forever.
Thank you to all for being hospitable and making our sojourn complete.