We've spent a good bit of the last 3 weeks flying back and forth to Texas to be with her dad, as well as attend the funeral at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Hillsboro.
Here is a picture of Roy and the four kids, Nancy on his left, Mary, Steve, and Ann on his right. This was the first time that all of them were together in the same place in over 20 years. Ann, an artist who lives in Portland, Oregon reminds me a lot of Nancy's mom. Steve is an antique arms dealer, collector, and restorer and he lives in Texas. Mary lives in Cambridge City, Indiana.
Here is JP with Camomile Swarts. Cam is Mary's daughter and she and JP were the only two grandkids who could make it. Cam is a schoolteacher in Portland and her husband, Charles, works for a company that builds high-tech parade floats. They have a wonderful young son, Bryce, who I've mentioned several times previously. Ann has several lovely young adult children, too, but it wasn't possible for them to come. None of the great-grand kids were in attendance, either.
This is a picture of Roy and JoEllen's four kids, plus the children of Patsy Ruth, JoEllen's only sister, also deceased. So, first cousins all around.
Nancy's dad, Roy, is a great guy. A wise and interesting man with some great stories who, at 81, is as keen as he ever was, I think. Among other things, he is a Navy veteran from WWII and a professional numismatist. We'd like for him to move up to Indiana, but he's not too interested at this time.
While we were in Texas, we got to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant en todo el mundo. Danal's is located in Irving, on O'Conner Blvd., just south of Irving High School. Not far at all from the airport and easy to find. If you go anywhere near the D/FW area, you owe it to yourself to go there. They have their own salsa recipe and it is like no other - served warm, fresh, and savory. There is a special cooking area within sight of the dining area where a wizened abuelita makes the most amazing flour tortillas, right there and right now, and then they bring them to your table. It's not fancy, but it is the very best place I know of to eat authentic Mexican food. Get there if you can. You'll thank me later.
Nancy and JP on the flight home after the funeral. It was a redeye. We got in to Dayton a little after midnight. JP had a 3-hour drive back to IU/Bloomington for an 8:00 class. Nancy and I crashed about 1:30 AM.
Life goes on, doesn't it? We who remain adapt, adjust, and dwell a bit on how temporary all this around us really is and how fragile we really are. It will be our turn one day, all of us, to lay our bodies down to die. And I believe that is a good thing, a very good thing. We are built to live forever...but we weren't built to live here forever. I very much look forward to seeing JoEllen again on the other side.