Bars on the windows

Woke to a nice southern breeze. I’ve returned to the south. Betty Lee. 50 years later with a new car and a pocket full of credit cards.

Thinking it would be nice to stop and see Mom’s sister (or I felt obligated like I should check in or something – but she really is my favorite of Mom’s sisters and I’m only a few hours away) so I call to let her know that I’m coming, should be there by 2.

Not good for me to make plans. Never is. It never works out. Quite often, when the time comes, I don’t want to go. More often than not, I get distracted, involved in something else. Easily distracted by the sun and moon and water and rain and trains. About an hour into my trip, I found a rest area with a lake. Wandered down there, sat for a bit watching others playing in their boats and ski-doos, a guy fishing off the bank and another down the way fishing off a boat. Nice warm day. But I’m thinking I better get back on the road.

The next exit took me to the lake. Rend Lake, southern Illinois. Found a nice quiet spot, put my feet in the water. Felt the sun on my face. My nephew called and asked where I’ve been, said that he had stopped by the house and hoped to see me but he guessed I was sleeping or something. No, I say – I’m in southern Illinois with my feet in a lake. Surprised he didn’t know that; he stopped by the house, took pictures, sent me a picture of my husband and several of his old friends. Looks like he’s having a good time without me. He’s okay.

I arrived at Aunt Holly’s about 7 pm (so much for that). Uncle Bill was watching football.  They were sitting there waiting for me. Waiting on supper. So then I feel bad; I know that older people don’t like to eat so late. We talk a few minutes and then go to dinner (Tom’s Pizza if you are ever in Paris TN). Then I felt bad because they bought me dinner; older people living on a fixed income. We get back at 9 and they get ready for bed. I go to my room and work for a little while.

Woke early in the morning and stepped out for a smoke; set the alarms off. Ahh. Uncle Bill comes wandering out in his jammies half asleep to turn it off. I knew they had bars on the windows; didn’t know about the alarm.

Sitting on the porch alone I feel a shadow pass by. Startled me. I always wonder what that is, who that is, makes me think I am crazy sometimes, but there’s something there. Shadow people. People who are dying see them. They seem to come to help you to the other side. Some call them angels. They are real to the people who see them. Me, I feel them .. something .. sometimes hear them call my name in those moments between awake and sleep.

Uncle Bill comes out to join me and we have coffee (tea for me) on the porch. Talking about my trip, his recent stroke (he is having a hard time communicating, walking .. but still there somewhere; still has his personality). My aunt is in and out, on the phone, making plans for a trip to JC. First, there wasn’t going to be a funeral, and then there was. Funeral for my uncle – none for my cousin (apparently her daughter, who is in charge there, is involved with a Muslim – and he calls the shots). Then I’m feeling guilty again; really should head east.

After breakfast, we head out to Kentucky Lake so I agree to stay another day to go sightseeing.   Took pictures at the Eiffel Tower (a miniature replica) and drove to Paris Landing.  Walked on the rocks while they sat at a picnic table.  Dinner at a local Chinese place.

We got home and Aunt Holly was on the phone again talking with relatives and making plans.  We talk about family over there, some of them with backwoods ways, calling around to motels in the area.  Again, no room in the inn – motels were full with people coming inland from the hurricane.  My brother called and Aunt Holly told him they had a visitor – guess who?    Telephone, television, tell a nephew .. he knew. He is planning to make the trip from Michigan to Tennessee for the funeral, just a quick burn-n-turn, and somehow managed to line up a motel six miles out of town.  Again, making me feel obligated to change direction, detour and go east.  Uncle Bill set the alarm at 8 pm, locking me in for the night.   Imprisoned.