Monday, December 19, 2005

There and back in 54 hours

Would you spend 22 hours driving in the span of a little over 2 days just so you could have breakfast with your Sister and Dinner with your Mom? The McGrails would and did this past weekend and I was fortunate to come along for the ride.

We left Cicero, Indiana at 4:30 Friday night and headed west to join up with Tom’s Brothers Tim and Dan and their families to give their Mother a special Christmas/Birthday present. This mother, Grandma Weezie, lives on the Western edge of Iowa in Sioux City some 676 miles away. We loaded the Van with blankets and presents, cranked up the heat and hit the road. It was a balmy 18 degrees when we left but the skies and the roads were clear. We made it to Aunt Barb’s (Kris’s Sister) house in Des Moines, IA a little before Midnight and I went straight to bed. Early morning coffee and cards were the faire as we chatted and laughed and planned the next leg of the trip. Barb made us breakfast and we were back on the road by 11 for the far shorter second leg.

After a quick 3 hour jaunt we were in the childhood home of Kate’s parents and therefore were treated to a tour of old houses, missing schools, and fuzzy memories. “This didn’t used to be here”, “so and so lived here” “no she lived over here”. It is a real joy to see where people came from and to watch their faces as they glance over houses that have shrunk with time. After the short trip down memory lane we pulled into Tom’s boyhood home and quickly unloaded the van and sat in the living room that time forgot to catch up.

It has been longer then anyone could remember since Dan, Tom and Tim had all been home together with the incredible woman that raised them after their Father had died. They have all been together at weddings and graduations but not Home, not with Mom, not together, not for a while. Seeing these three brothers together is like watching an elaborate dance of deference. Each is more proud of the other and they absolutely beam when telling the tales of how great the other is. “Tom is Vice President now” says Dan, “But Tim just got back from Germany where he resolved the safety feud” says Tom, “Oh but Dan, he has lost his sight and recovered it all the while still teaching kids” As the dance was winding down we passed out gifts and watched as Grandma Weezie opened her grass skirt with wide eyed bewilderment. Next she opened her lei and was even more confused. She modeled both and gave us an impromptu hula that had us all rolling on the floor. Finally she opened the ticket to Hawaii with eyes as wide as any 6 year old getting a new bike. “Oh wow, really?” she said as clutched the ticket to her chest. “There’s one more thing mom, is it OK if we all go?” A family reunion in Hawaii for the 80th birthday of a remarkable woman.

After Church the next morning we set back out on the road to make the trip in reverse. Sioux City to Des Moines, Des Moines to Cicero, a stop for lunch with Barb and Marv and a lot of mile markers passed. We made it back home Sunday night a little after 10 PM, weary but warmed to the soul by a wonderful trip.

Here’s the math:

22 hours of travel
17 hours of sleep
15 hours of visiting
54 hours total
1353 miles traveled

Not bad for a McGrail weekend


Linsey said...

Did anyone drive a Flare?