Monday, June 27, 2022

Half-Way Through The Year

This has felt light a rough year so far, but for no good reason.  Yes, I have been sick a lot more than usual, more than in the last many years, all piled into just a couple of months, but it was not serious sickness.  Just annoying.   And yes, I am more tired than I can remember being, craving more sleep and still not feeling rested.   And yes, I am crabby crabby crabby, quick to take offense, and feeling like the rock I push up the hill is waiting to be pushed again every morning when I wake up.

But really, I’m fine.   Don’t get up, as Dr. Cranky used to say.

Jack and I took a week off to drive from here in Mid-Michigan to southern Illinois for his brother Mark’s memorial service this month.  Mark, who died last winter, was the first of the seven siblings to be lost, and he was one of the youngest, so it hit especially hard.  This was the first long drive in one of our Teslas and I did all the driving.   In many ways it was more relaxing than being home.  We took two days down and two days back, so it was a ridiculously easy trip, and pretty much uneventful.  One nice surprise happened when, in one of our overnight towns, we stumbled by accident in Kankakee, Illinois, on the first Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie style homes, built next-door to one another by siblings.  Better yet, we had a chance meeting with the president of the board that maintains the houses, and he gave us a private tour of the main floor. What a beautiful place.   The next time we drive down to visit family we will try to arrange to tour the rest of the house, which is only open to the public two days a week.

Quite a few of Jack’s family members were at our final destination, with most of us staying in the same hotel, which is always an adventure.  There were about 23 of us; I was probably the oldest, at 72, and the youngest was 8 months old.  The general area was home to Jack when he was young, so we had to stop at the family favorite “Dairy Haven” (which has local fame for swirling sherbet with soft serve vanilla ice cream), make a bakery run for gooey butter cake, and drive past the world’s largest ketchup bottle.   Fun for me and a bit of nostalgia for him.

Jack’s sister Jill has 4-year-old twin granddaughters.  One of the girls informed me that her twin was taller than she was,  and I was the one who broke it to them that their grandma was also a twin, and that her twin was taller than she was, too.    The girls were not sure whether or not to believe me; although they are also fraternal twins, they didn't expect a boy-girl duo.  

The memorial service was sad, of course, but had its lighter moments, too.  Mark was something of a character, and so were many of his friends.  

Mark had traveled extensively and collected many handcrafted local items wherever he went.  He kept a large collection of wizards, and wood carvings, and dried frogs and lizards, among other things.  He was known for hard work and hospitality and spent several  years as a contractor.  We heard from a man whose mother was dying and indigent, and Mark took her in and cared for her until she died.  When the family asked the friends to share stories, after the usual awkward moment of silence, one woman raised her hand and blurted out, “He bailed me out of jail,” and added under her breath, “more than once.”  As the laughter died down, a man on the other side of the room called out, “let’s see a show of hands of everyone he bailed out of jail,” and more than  half the room raised their hands.  We heard about the huge barbecues Mark held on building sites, where he invited anyone and everyone, with no one turned away.   And about how he paid for people’s medical care or housing if they fell on hard times, always sharing with an open hand and heart.   Although it was an intensely sad time for Mark’s family, I loved hearing the stories since I had only met Mark a few times, and, although he was very welcoming, we had never had a serious conversation.  I felt like I got to  know him just a little bit, and wished I had known him more.

It also made me think about what my own memorial would be; certainly not as interesting as Mark’s.  I guess there is still a little time to change my ways, in order to create some interesting stories for after I’m gone, but I hope I won’t need to be bailing people out of jail to do it!

Back home again I have been able to spend a little, not enough, time with my nearly grown grands, and I've even gotten into the pool once this year, although I am not as active as my lovely Ray and Joseph's girlfriend Vanessa!

So really, despite being tired and cranky and often just done with the world, everything is fine.  Sometimes I just need to turn off the news and focus on my own little bubble.


Barbara said...

Good to hear from you. Yes, sometimes turning off the news is the best choice. I’ve been disheartened by current events as well. The funeral/memorial service sounds like one I attended several years back. Anyone who knew our friend had a funny story to tell about him. He and Mark probably would have gotten along.

Jeanne said...

What a nice trip report! Gather as many lovely memories as you can. I agree that the world is just too much anymore. Take care.

Marie Louise said...

I am glad that you had a carefree week and that the trip was so nice. That is just what you need after being cooped up so long. adorable twins (guess for yourself which set I mean!)
I hope that with better weather comes better health. Do not watch the news, it makes you sick again.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

I'm sorry you've been sick and hope the second part of this year will be better for you.

Your trip sounded nice even tho it was for a memorial service. If you enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright homes you have to stop in Oak Park Illinois sometime to see one of his residences and his studio. It's a wonderful tour.

Feel better my friend! xo