Thursday, November 22, 2012

Feeling Blessed

Well, just in case you're wondering--I'm still a blogger (I think); it's just that I've been preoccupied with other activities since we arrived here in Colorado Springs, and I've hardly seen my poor neglected laptop at all.

I have often worried anyway that I'm boring you to tears with my daily "navel gazing" (as a much more polished, professional, well-known, and widely-read blogger I follow would put it; you might want to check out her delightful blog,  So I don't think a couple of days of respite from "String of Pearls" would do anyone any great harm.

But I thought I'd just let you know what we've been up to the last two days, if you're interested.  If you'll recall, on Monday my husband and I were about to set out from Des Moines, on the second leg of our road trip west to spend Thanksgiving with our oldest son, his wife, and our twin granddaughters.

We'd been teased by some of our Pearl relatives, during our weekend at Notre Dame, about whether or not we planned to stop and see some sights along the way--maybe check out the world's largest mud hut or the world's largest ball of twine.  We told them that our plan was to just go full speed ahead, stopping only to fill up the gas tank and answer nature's calls. We were in a hurry to see those granddaughters of ours!  So NO, we would not be doing the Clark and Ellen Griswold tourist routine.  It was point A to point B for us, and that's all there was to it.

I was reminded of a few things as we drove westward from Indiana to Colorado.  I was reminded that we live in a HUGE country, and in spite of fears of the zero population crowd, there are vast areas of uninhabited land that look like this:
I mean, on our trip we would drive for hours and spy nothing but corn fields and farmland and barns and tractors and hay bales and cows and horses.  There was not a strip mall or a Dunkin' Donuts to be found along our route--it was all just wide open spaces as far as the eye could see, in every direction.  We passed a lot of mail boxes at the ends of narrow gated roads, and I couldn't help but wonder: where are all the people?!  And how far do they have to drive just to check the mail?  And where do they shop?  And what happens if we run out of gas out here in the middle of nowhere?!

I was reminded on this trip that I am extraordinarily blessed to live in this country, which is so filled with beautiful landscapes and natural resources--a country with enough farm land in it to feed its own people and then some.

When we'd been on the road about 9 hours or so, we passed a sign that read "Original Pony Express Station," and I oohed and ahhed about that, never expecting my husband to pull off the exit.  This was a detour he never would have taken for himself; but he knows how crazy I am about anything old and historical, so he did it to surprise and please me.  (I've told you many times that that guy is my hero, and this is just one of the million reasons why.)  So in Gothenburg, Nebraska we stopped and saw an honest-to-goodness Pony Express Station, and my husband even donned his cowboy hat and posed in front of it for me.  I can almost imagine him hopping on his trusty steed with a sack of mail strapped to the saddle, and riding through the wilderness to deliver all those hand-written letters. (Remember those?)
After just about exactly 12 hours of traveling, we arrived at our destination Monday night and received the most wonderful welcome--from the two cutest miniature cowgirls west of the Mississippi.  My little Kewpie even said "Gra" without prompting from anyone, and I'll tell you, this grammy was thrilled.  The twins have been saying "Papa" for awhile, but now they're calling me "Gra" or "Gra Gra."
Bonny and Cutie, crawling all over Papa.  
Last year, we spent Thanksgiving with this same beautiful family in Upstate NY, and now that we're with them again on Thanksgiving, it feels like it's become a tradition.  For the second year in a row, my husband and I are playing the part of grateful guests, while our son and his wife play host and hostess and toil away in the kitchen to produce the feast. Last night, my daughter-in-law made green bean salad and a pumpkin pie, and my son made a chocolate Bundt cake with peanut butter frosting.  He carved the cake to resemble a harp, in honor of St. Cecilia (the Patron Saint of Musicians), whose feast day is today.
All I've done so far is peel the potatoes, and today I may be called upon to make the gravy; but the kids are doing the rest of the work.  As much as I always loved cooking the Thanksgiving dinner, I have found that I'm okay with passing the baton on to the next generation.  It is a delight to be a guest here, surrounded by cute toddlers and delectable food and great conversation.

There is NOTHING like family.  And even if you have to drive halfway across the country to be with those you love, it's well worth it!

I am feeling so blessed today, and I hope you are, too.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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