Monday, January 20, 2014

The Boots My Father Wore

At a place called Grace Assisted Living, in Meridian, Idaho, in the tiny apt. my Father and Mother have lived for the past 8 1/2 months. There sits my Father's boots, the two pair he brought from home when he came here to live. He would alternate the days he wore them. At 98 years of age, his shoulders and arms did not work as they once had.  Some days he struggled to pull those boots on, and many evenings my Mother helped him to remove them. Along with his Levis, his western shirt and vest, and most often his cowboy hat, he made a fine and dapper looking gentleman.  Lately his boots have sat there together, under the t.v stand where he would sit and watch his western movies and while away the hours.

On Sunday January 5th, while getting himself dressed, he suffered a fall and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  It was determined that he had fractured his pelvis in 3 places.  From that point on, he was bedridden.  He spent two nights in the hospital and on Tuesday January 7th was transported back to his place at Grace.  He was already in Hospice care due to another hospitalization over Thanksgiving. From the moment he came back to Grace, there was a steady stream of relatives along with the hospice people. The hospice staff were all wonderful to him and to us.  Hubby and I were there, we had spent the previous 3 1/2 weeks in Idaho so we had spent a lot of time with him. Because of work commitments, we had to come back to Texas, so, reluctantly, we left on the 11th. From the time he came back to Grace he alternated between being clear and coherent to being agitated and incoherent. When he was doing well, he always had a kind word or a joke for the hospice staff, the aides and staff at Grace and anyone who came by to see him.  Yesterday on Sunday the 19th, he passed peacefully, in the presence of my Mom, my Sister, my Aunt(his sister) and my Cousin(his niece).  My Father, Bernard(Barney) Stephen Conner, was 17 days from reaching his 99th birthday.

When I left him on the 10th, I was pretty certain it would be the last time I would see him in this life. I wrote these words when I got back home to Texas.

Your voice so soft
I cannot hear
I must lean in
Close to your ear
So much unspoken, but the time is near
All I can do is say...
Thank You
I Love You
and then

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oh no, this is not my black bag

You know those signs at the airport near baggage claim..something to the effect that "a Lot of bags are similar or look alike"  Yeah, those signs.  Lately when we travel, we take 4 large bags.  Each one is the largest bag from whatever "sets" of luggage we have had.  So they are all different colors, and pretty recognizable.  A couple of them are pretty beat up. But I shudder to think of buying new ones again.  The last one I bought got ruined by the airlines the very first time I used it. I say ruined, it was stained with oil and grease, but still usable. So instead of buying another new one I just keep using it.  Well anyhow, I have made custom tags for all our bags, so they are very recognizable coming off the turnstyle.  We have never had a mix-up so far.  A couple of times Hubby has seen his black bag grabbed by someone else, but always caught it.  This time, we got our 4 bags and trudged down to where the airport shuttle picks folks up.  When we got on the shuttle there was one other person who got on with us.  The driver dropped us off first.  It was dark and we were tired.  Some times we just open up the one that has our toiletries in it and wait to unpack the next morning.  Well, Hubby decided to haul them all upstairs anyhow.  He was groaning about how heavy the black one felt, he did not recall it being so before.  Well, pretty soon he hollered down the stairs for me to come up.  He had opened the bag and it most def. was not ours.  He ran downstairs and called the shuttle company, and they got in touch with the driver, who came back to exchange the bags.  He had gotten about 20 miles away, but had not delivered the other passenger yet.  That was really close. The driver apologized about getting them mixed up.  I told Hubby, before we use that black bag again I am going to spray paint a design on it so it REALLY stands out.

Speaking of luggage, I bought 3 pieces of matching Chaps, the black and brown with stirrup design,  last year because I thought I might like some "matching" for a change.  The very first trip, the large one came off the turnstyle with one roller wheel completely broken off. The rest of it looked fine, but it was totally unusable with only 3 wheels.  Sometimes I feel like packing my clothes in a cardboard box with a rope tied around it!

Yes, I have probably spent enough over the past ten years on luggage to have bought a set of industrial aluminum.  However, the sets I have bought have always been good brands, and "on sale", but never really cheap. I guess I should start using the really old hardside Samsonite one that went with my Mom's set.  But I don't think it ever went on an airplane, so consequently, still looks like new.