Family Visits

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So, I won’t lie, the best thing about this little car is cruising with my little buddies. This time, grandson Carter John comes with me to get some gas…

Cruising

and whatever else comes our way! The road is calling…

Cruising

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So, Jess and the grandkids are here for a week’s vacation! This afternoon, we needed to get out of the house, so we headed to up the road to Veteran’s Park!

But first, for some reason, we have to DAB (whatever that is)…

DAP DAB

With so many kids to carry, it’s a good thing Dad was there to help out with transportation!

MG at the Park

Anyway, there are plenty of things for the kids to do…

Like SPIN…

Spin

and SWING…

Jess and Carter Swing Alex and Carter Swing

and SWING some more…

Jess and Oliver swing

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Yesterday was the viewing and today is the funeral for Pa…

The sign

This isn’t the boys’ first experience with the death of a loved one. They lost their Nanny Vera (Cindy’s mom) a few years ago, but they were only 3-years-old and really too young to comprehend what was happening. This time around, they saw and spoke to Pa while he lay sick in his bed. Now they’ve seen him lying in his casket, and although they seem to sense the weightiness of the situation, they’re still protected by a childhood innocence. The most interesting thing was their compulsion to touch Pa…they laid their hands on his forehead. During our drive to Virginia, we talked about Pa and I explained that he was dying. Alex asked if he was going to Heaven to be with God. I said, “Yes he is.”

My cousin Mark, who is a Methodist pastor, performed the funeral. I was touched by his words. The sky had opened up about an hour before and the rain was pouring down. Mark reminded everyone that Pa was a farmer and would’ve appreciated the rain. This made me smile. After the ceremony, we moved to the gravesite. I was one of the pall-bearers and helped lift Pa’s casket into the Hearse and from the Hearse to the grave stand.

Casket

Mark said a prayer at the gravesite and we left Pa to the funeral workers to lay him next to Granny to whom he has now been reunited…

Gravestone

WELCOME HOME!

Granny and Pa

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So, we’re in Virginia and visiting family. I wish our trip was under better circumstances, as my 99-year-old grandfather (“Pa”) is very ill and not expected to make it through the weekend. Right now he’s home and being attended to by family and Hospice. We drove up yesterday and headed straight to his house. Most of the family were there, so it was pretty crowded. Everyone who came to the house came in to say “hello” to Pa and sit with him for a bit while he lay in his bed; there was singing and a lot of laughter. Although he couldn’t speak very well and he was very weak, I believe he enjoyed the visits.

Today, we spent most of the day with Pa. It was a little rough on the boys, but fortunately, their cousin Mike was there to treat them to rides on his four-wheeler…

Four-Wheeling Four-Wheeling

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the kids paid a visit to the oldest Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in the world…

Ripley Ripley

I remember reading “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in the Sunday comics when I was a kid (and evidently, after almost 100-years, you still can)…

Ripley

I find it very interesting that in this cartoon from January 2016, they used an image of Barnabus Collins, the vampire from the late 60’s soap opera, “Dark Shadows”.

And “Believe It or Not”, despite the freezing temperature of the water (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating), they went to the beach afterward…

Beach

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Jess and the kids came to visit for a few days and the boys were excited to see their nephews and ‘big sister‘ Kameran! Thank goodness for minivans!

In the van

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Last night my inlaws (Junior and Linda) evacuated Sarasota with Linda’s daughter and her family. They arrived at our house last night. Hurricane Irma passed over Key West as a Cat 4 storm and entered the Florida penninusla around Marco Island as a Cat 3. At 5 a.m. this morning, she’s a Cat 1 and headed up central Florida.

Hurricane Irma Cone

The wind has been picking-up since about 2 a.m. and is whipping pretty good now. We have a couple of minor leaks, but nothing too serious.

Leak

UPDATE: 8:00 a.m.

Irma is coming through the panhandle now and is somewhere around Lakeland, Florida. It’s still a Cat 1. The wind is really gusting outside, but I’m just sitting here sipping coffee.

Hurricane Irma Cone

UPDATE: 8:00 p.m.

Well, the day is coming to an end. Our evacuees laft after the wind died down (about noon) and headed back to Sarasota. Although we were on the wrong side of the storm, we really dodged a bullet. The original predictions for this storm were pretty bad. As it turns out, we didn’t even lose power. I can’t say the same for a lot of people in NE Florida, though. There are a lot of folks without power and there was a lot of flooding along the river.

Hurricane Irma Cone

Overall, we had very minor damage. A couple of leaks, my pool pump isn’t working (think it might be the capacitor), and the wind pushed over my Big Green Egg…

Big Green Egg

Feeling very fortunate.

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So, as you know, Cindy is in the U.K. visiting her dad. Looks like she’s having a good time, too! Sharing a Gunniess with the ol’ man…

Cindy sipping Gunniess

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This weekend, Cindy took the boys to visit big sister Jessica in Alabama. They’ve been wanting to see “Baby Oliver” and Carter John and their new puppy, Cooper! Today the took a trip to Birmingham to visit the McWane Science Center and Cindy got a picture of all the boys. How she got them to sit still to do it, I’ll never know!

McWane Science Center

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Another reason for the family trip to SW Florida was so we could present this shadowbox to my father-in-law for his birthday. He served 20-years in the US Air Force, but he didn’t have ANY reminders of his service, they being lost to the passage of time. All he had were some papers in a briefcase he kept in his closet. Fortunately, one of those papers was his DD214, which contained most of the of the information needed to construct the shadowbox, and short conversation provided the rest.

Happy Birthday, “Poppy”…and thanks for your service!

Shadowbox

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