At the end of August, I headed out on a journey with my daughter that I'll never be able to do again. Nor will my daughter, whose bad foot and ankle swelled up every evening from the long drive. I had so much stuff I had to take for Jen's care that I couldn't have invited anyone else, so I was the sole driver. Between her foot and my aging body, neither of us could handle more than 6 1/2 hours a day.
I drove us 2000 miles, from Virginia to Utah, to visit aging friends and family, some of whom may not be long with us physically. I did it! I can't believe I did it!! Going west I took I-40 all the way because we especially wanted to see my only living aunt whom I knew we would never see again. She's the last of my mother's living siblings, and is almost 89 years old. In June, her husband died unexpectedly--yes, he was 90, but in excellent health; he was her eyes as she has macular degeneration. But she is so upbeat and positive, and can laugh about her aging body.
We enjoyed two days with her in Wickenburg, Arizona. Some of you can relate to this when I say that it was 108 degrees when we arrived. But just having exited Arlene's air conditioned house, don't she and my daughter Jen look cool?
Above is Arlene's desert front yard. Not much green here for Jen, her favorite color. I think I prefer the green of the east coast but the desert has its own beauty. I especially like the cactuses such as this one. And there are such interesting things you can do with rocks.
From Arizona, it's north on I-15 to our destination, the home of dear friends Maureen and her husband Bob that rests on the South Mountain, that is, at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley with a stunning view of the entire valley. Stunning at night with all of the lights. But during the day....well, I realized that this valley where I grew up is indeed a desert, and I think I would rather live in Virginia with all of the green!
Above: A great view of the Wasatch Mountains and the part of the valley called Draper where our co-host Bob grew up....with horses and farms and even some buffalo roaming about, all of this gone to housing developments.
This is another view from our friends' backyard on South Mountain. This is a greener picture!
This view (above) looks more like the desert. Again a view from our friends' backyard. This view overlooks the prison, or the Correctional Facility as it's now called, located just behind the buildings at the bottom. As I said above, this was once farmland. I vividly remember the buffalo in the 1950s. This really is a beautiful scene at night, but my puny digital camera couldn't capture the scene. It was all just a blur.
And the day Jen and I watched the hang gliders, this is all I could capture. But picture about three dozen of these in this brilliant blue sky above South Mountain in Salt Lake Valley. Below is Jen pointing to the hang gliders the day before our departure.
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When we first arrived, we had lunch with one of my good blogger friends. She knows who she is! I haven't yet thanked her again, since we got home, for the wonderful hardback books she gave me, two boxes I managed to get in my crowded van, books she was going to give away, so I'm glad I was there. Reading is something I'm doing more of these days. I have said I have to slow down because of Jen's care, and this is still true. Occasionally I think of revising a second memoir that's in my files. Maybe one day....
But I wanted to keep in touch with you, and so here I am. I still want you to tell me if you've published a book. I know Alex Cavanaugh has, and it's in my Kindle reader to read and review. Also, Melissa Goodwin will have a sequel out in December to her Christmas Village, which I thought was excellent. My friend Roland Yeomans has a short novel I also have on my list.
And there are others who have contacted me via email. Emails are always welcome!