When my family (parents, sister, niece) visited after Christmas, we packed an enormous amount of stuff into 5 days. Scott went above and beyond the call of the son-in-law's duty. He drove us all to Sedona on New Year's Day to see some of the most beautiful scenery on the entire planet.
It was truly amazing to get to experience this with my mom and dad. (Even though it was freezing and we had to buy my dad a sweatshirt to put under his jacket, just to be able to exit the car. I was too stupid to remember that we would be going NORTH for 2 hours.) We traveled those treacherous drop-off roads through the mountains that are so scary and gorgeous that you are torn between oohing and aahing and shitting your pants and crying for your momma. Luckily, mine was in the car.
This photo is from one afternoon when my sister and niece took my car to go explore the seedy side of Phoenix (the malls), and I set my parents up with their own little private vacation spot by the pool, in lounge chairs, and equipped my mother, whose eyes are still recovering from cataract surgery, with a big floppy hat. She looked like an aloof movie star, poo-pooing the photographers on the other side of the pool. They relished bathing in the sun instead of suffering back home in the 19 degree weather.
I've never, ever had a family member visit me at my house and spend the night. For some of the family I was always close enough for them to drive home at the end of the day. (The rest of the family never visited.) This time I got to pamper them. I fixed up their bedrooms and laid out their towels and turned down their beds and bought four kinds of bubble bath.
Scott cooked like crazy. When they arrived, late in the evening on the 30th, he had two kinds of homemade soup waiting for them on the stove: ham and bean, and smoked turkey and barley. He made frittatas for breakfast one day and "Dutch babies" (not actual infants from Holland) the next. Salmon cooked on the grill for dinner, surrounded by lemon-halves and about a thousand kinds of veggies. Once we finally finished that
main course, he carried out six separate little chocolate cakes he had baked for us and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. My mother cannot get over her wonderment at how *I* got a guy like this one. Neither can I.
We took my parents to see their old friend Bob, 91, who served with my dad in World War II. Bob, who has been too frail to travel to the annual army reunions in Cincinnati for the last few years, lives in an assisted living residency 45 minutes from here. He was thrilled with the visit and marveled that he had never had this big a crowd in his apartment before. He has an astounding singing voice. It still booms from that fragile wisp of a body, and he sung a couple of hymns for us. I recorded it all on video.
Very few things in my life will ever rank up there with those 5 days. I know it will never happen again. We pushed our luck with having my dad endure a 4 hour flight. Prayers were mercifully answered and he did OK both ways, with the only snag happening in airport security, both ways, because of his expired driver's license. He got examined more than a Playboy in a junior high boys' locker room. Yeah. Check that guy out. He's got Al-Quaida written all over him. Quick, get him out of that wheelchair so we can wrestle him to the ground.
He asked constantly "Where are we?" and my sister wrote on a little notebook "We are in Phoenix, Arizona. We are here to visit Scott and Candy." He held it on his lap. I sat next to him in the van we rented, and on the way to Sedona he looked down at it dozens of times. Still unsatisfied, every few minutes he'd ask "Where are
we?" I'd say "We're in Arizona, Dad."
His answer, every time: "What the hell
are we doing here?" It became our catch-phrase for the trip, which amused him.
As we expected, when he got home to Indiana he did not remember coming to Arizona. He did not remember seeing Sedona, even an hour after we'd left there. This broke my heart into little splinters which flew around my chest like dust. But I am so grateful he got to come here at all. And I will never