Thursday, November 24, 2011

What a long strange trip it was

In preparation to celebrate Thanksgiving, I travelled to Steubenville, Ohio to pick up my college girl. She usually is able to find a ride home, but not this time. Hindsight being what it is, I should have bought her a plane ticket. Still, I am thankful for a safe journey there and back and all the stuff in between.

Back in September, I told you my grandmother turned 100 years old. What I did not mention is that my other grandmother is 97. She lives in West Virginia and it was only a slight detour to go see her. We got a nice early start Tuesday morning, me and the three littlest kids. Tony had to work and Olivia had school. So I plugged Nana's address in the GPS, filled the tank with gas, and we were off.

As we neared the town of Front Royal, a warning bell sounded and all the lights on the dash went out. They came back on but were flickering. Thankful that we were near a largish town, I pulled off the highway to see Wal-Mart's automotive sign from the road. I pulled in and asked if they could help. They could not, but the nice man gave me hand-written directions to the Chrysler dealership down the road. I got there and they took my van immediately and led us to the waiting area. There were more toys there than in my kid's room! They had a blast and were able to run around while I waited for the diagnosis of my van. Turns out my one year old battery had a bad cell. I asked if they could give me directions to the auto parts store where I had bought the battery, since it was under warranty. They printed out directions and I paid them for their trouble and was on my way to getting back on the road. The auto store was just as friendly and quickly exchanged the bad battery for a new one. 

Two hours behind schedule, we headed out onto the back roads of West Virginia. It is such beautiful land. Mountains, valleys, creeks rambling everywhere, and so many beautiful old homes, many of them log cabins. As I pulled onto my Grandmother's street and saw her house sitting so stately at the end of the road, I teared up. It had been 4 years since I had been there. Too long, I tell you. I stepped inside and was flooded with wonderful, happy memories. Doesn't my grandmother look absolutely wonerful at 97?

I spent many an afternoon warming my can on that radiator after playing outside with my sisters, climbing and walking along the fence top, hanging out in the treehouse, exploring the barn, feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs.

We could only stay a short while, since we still had three hours ahead of us to get to Sophie. I am so grateful that we were able to see my Nana.

After spending the night in Steubenville, we got back in the car to head home and start cooking for Thanksgiving. I wish that I could have captured the scenery better, but just trust me when I say that I now know why they are called the Blue Ridge Mountains. The colors were so remarkable and vivid.

 And then we came to this...

...and we spent the next four hours getting through Washington. I decided to stop for dinner once we had navigated through the worst of it. We had planned on being home in time for dinner, but it was clear that was not to be. The kids begged for those golden arches, so I pulled in. We ordered the food, sat down, said our blessing, and Anna took one bite and looked at me with panic in her eyes. I jumped up, ushered her outside, and held her hair as she emptied her stomach in the parking lot. Oh, poor Anna! I am grateful that this did not happen in the car, or the restaurant. I got her cleaned up and Sophie took care of the other kids. I am thankful that I had Sophie to help me. Three hours later, we pulled in the driveway and I don't think I have ever been so thankful to be home!

This morning, Anna is feeling better, and I have been cooking in preparation for a shared Thanksgiving dinner with another family. We were supposed to go to Tony's mother's house like we always do. But yesterday, as I was driving, my mother-in-law was in surgery, having the cancerous portion of her lung removed. We have known for a few weeks now, but until she went into surgery we could not know the extent to which the cancer had invaded her body. Thankfully, it has not spread to the lymph nodes, which was suspected. However, it has spread to one of her ribs. They could not remove that, so she will have to recover from surgery and then face radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Please pray for my mother-in-law as she recovers from surgery and regains strength to undergo the next part of her treatment.

May you all have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving today.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness! What a trip. I'm glad all the car-fixing-people were so nice. And how wonderful that both of your grandmothers are still alive and well. I LOVE W. Virginia. We drove through there on our way to TN once, and it is so beautiful. I would love to live there on a hill in a log cabin. =) Prayers for your mother-in-law.