Posted by: morrowsl | April 16, 2015

Just What The Doctor Ordered

SONY DSCI was supposed to go to the salvage yard today with my sister. I had a short list, but mostly I wanted to look for an old kitchen sink to use for a potting bench. I have no idea how much something like that would cost. Or weigh. But I wanted to look.
The salvage yard is called Cunningham’s and it’s a magical place. My brother Jack, a builder, had suggested I go there a few years ago when I was looking for boards to use for shelving and didn’t want new lumber. The yard is just east of the town that served as our “cut off point” when we’d use I35 to get to my parents’ house at Lake Whitney.
When I was there before, I had a very small window of time for browsing. I knew what I wanted and we had other places to go. I bought a length of old 1×8 that had been an interior wall at some point. It still had bits of cheesecloth stuck to it from wallpaper long removed. I also picked up a length of old siding that had been painted red. I promised myself I’d come back and go through the buildings filled with old doors and windows and sinks and such.

But my sister called last evening and said my mom was off her feed and she thought maybe a trip to the doctor was in order. Mom was just at the doc’s last week, so whatever was going on had developed rather fast.
I said I’d come out anyway.

Once there, it seemed that Mom was more or less okay.  She was up and dressed and sitting in her favorite chair.  I kissed her.  No fever that I could discern.  Her eyes were bright.  She seemed alert and tuned in.
So I told her it was a shame she felt so bad as I’d decided our first sunny day in weeks needed to be spent outside, maybe even venturing down to Rio Vista for a burger from Fat Albert’s.
She didn’t say yes.  But she didn’t say no either.
So I gave her some time to mull it over and we talked about other things.
Then I brought up leaving the house again and how it would be such a shame to waste such a beautiful day inside, parked in front of the TV.
And she caved.
We loaded her bag and portable oxygen concentrator, her wheelchair and purse and sunglasses.  And her.
Then I pointed Stella south and we cruised into the sunny day.

Years ago, when my parents moved to Lake Whitney, there was absolutely nothing there to do or see unless you fished and enjoyed time watching boats on the water.  Which we did.
And there wasn’t a decent place to get a meal for miles.  Now there are full-sized restaurants within ten minutes of their house.  But back then, all the meals we took were cooked in the little pink kitchen of their house.
Except for burgers from Fat Albert’s.  In Blum.  Easily a good fifteen to twenty minute drive north.  But they were well worth the trip, so long as you left before you were too hungry.
Hand pressed 100% beef patties as thick as your hand.  Toasted bun slathered in your condiment of choice and dressed with fresh veggies.
To.  Die.  For.

But time eventually took it’s toll and my parents, as well as Fat Albert’s, relocated.  It was a good while before we found our favorite burger joint.  By then, Daddy was gone and Mom was living too far away to make going there a weekly thing as it had been.

Oh, we do still go every chance we get!  We just don’t get nearly enough chances.

This time we called our order in and picked it up.  Three burgers, one fry, one tea, and two slices of pie.  We tried to stop and have our picnic down on the Brazos River where my grandparents had lived, but it’s a state park now and not a “day camp”, so you can’t just stop and eat and leave.  We ended up across the highway, parked where we could see the gatehouse to the no-use camp.
Then, burgers done, I started the car, looked at Mom and asked, “which way?”
“On”, she said.
So I turned left and we drove on south, eventually coming to the highway that cuts across the landscape from the area where my brother and his family settled to the little town of Whitney where my parents lived.  On the way, we drove through Kopperl, where my grandparents picked up their mail, and little else, when they lived on the river.  We eventually came to Lakeside Village where Daddy liked to fish and where, for a very short time just after they’d moved down from the city, my parents ran a small cafe.  We drove down to the marina, which has been purchased and reopened and seems to be available for fishing again.  On the way out we saw the biggest roadrunner any of us had ever seen and he paused long enough for a couple of photos.
Back onto the highway, we passed the park where we used to take the kids to swim, in the public swim area of the lake.  Over the Katy Bridge, still too high and narrow for my comfort, where we tried to pick out which bluff was the one where Mom and Dad’s house sat.
We tried to drive around another of our fishing spots, but it too is now a “no use” camp where people go if they plan to be there overnight.
U-Turn.
Back onto the highway, past the grocery store where Daddy took his grandkids for candy.  Then that left turn into Angler’s Haven and down the rough and rutted road, the steep hill with the sharp right turn, the narrow street that loops around to the right and puts you almost directly into the driveway of the house where my parents lived out their dream of living on the lake.
The house is being painted.  It will never look the same.  I wish they’d put it up for sale.  And that I’d have the money to buy it if they did.

Back out on the highway.  Time to head for home.  But wait, there’s still pie!

We pulled into the quiet little cemetery where bluebonnets return year after year, flourishing in the unmolested earth.  We parked and pulled Mom’s wheelchair out of the back.  And she sat in the shade next to the car and ate cherry and coconut cream pie in the peaceful quiet of an April afternoon.
B said, “Mom, I hope when I’m ninety my kids will bring me to the cemetery to eat pie.”
And I said, “A suggestion from my kids to go to the cemetery and eat pie would be too suspect for me!”
And we laughed and felt lucky to have a day for spending time together, visiting places we loved, on the first sunny day we’ve had in far too long.

It was a good day, Mom.  I’m glad you felt so bad we just had to get out and go!


Responses

  1. What a precious day for you and your sis and mom! And such lovely evocative writing that just draws the reader into your story!

    • Thank you, Shara. I love writing stories about favorite people and places.

  2. So glad she was just having a bit of cabin fever!! And smart of you to figure it out on a perfect day to be outside. ❤

    • Well, and we all know now how very wrong MY diagnosis was! But it was a good day for all, especially her!

  3. Love this, Mamba!! Made me teary and laugh-y. It’d make a good foundation for a middle-grade book about what it’s like to be a young girl in Texas. Maybe give those grandkids a way to see into their grandmother’s world when she was their age….

    • I will keep that in mind. Then, when you are a publisher, I’ll submit!

      • That gives you plenty of time to polish your manuscript because you know it’s gonna be a minute. =D


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