It is not every day that you get to be with your entire immediate childhood family. We grow up, move apart, have kids, get busy, and the list goes on. I live within 5 miles of my parents and my youngest sister (KW). But the middle child, KG, lives in Florida. She comes here to Texas with her husband usually at Thanksgiving and they split their time between us in FW and Austin where his family lives. Often, that gathering also includes in-laws and extended family. It is a great big event with lots of food and fun. However, for the most part, on these occasions we are all so busy putting food on the table and keeping kids happy that we don’t sit down and visit with just our immediate family. I’m sure you know what I mean. So this trip with my mom, dad, two sisters and our kids (hubbies all stayed home to work) back to our hometown, Hobbs, NM 88240 turned into a special time we will all treasure forever.
We didn’t plan this trip. Unfortunately, a dear friend of ours passed away the week before school started. We grew up and went to church with her children. Her two daughters were my best friends in high school and roommates in college. The son was KG’s age and was like a little brother to me, you know, sometimes annoying and sometimes a sweetheart. So there was no question we would go to the memorial service. Because school had not started we decided we could take the kids. Two of them had to miss their Meet the Teacher nights at their school. I arranged with the principal to take little KC that morning to the school so she could meet her teacher before we left. KG flew in from FL the day before and we drove to Hobbs in two vehicles. 3 kids had movies and Nintendos in one vehicle and the lucky child who got to ride in the grandparent vehicle got to use Aunt KG’s IPad. Of course they actually all wanted to use the IPAD so they were asking to be that in that car.
The last time I had been back was for my 5 year reunion (or was it 10?). We figured that all out on the trip but now I’ve already forgotten. Anyway, it was almost 20 years ago. KW had never taken her 3 boys either. We were all a little excited about showing our kids where we grew up.
We arrived in Hobbs early enough on Thursday we took the kids to eat before going to the service. We chose Taco Bell where I used to work and then the location of the old Baskin Robbins where KW worked. It was still serving ice cream, but was called something new. After eating we drove around briefly on that side of town to see what had changed. We saw the hospital where KW was born. It was an office building now.
The service was that night. Their family was also spread out so they decided to have just a memorial service that evening and then a visiting time after. We got to see so many people we hadn’t seen in years. Former Bible class teachers and high school buddies and other friends from the community were there. I didn’t even think of taking my camera to this as you don’t normally take a camera to a funeral. I got a couple of blurry shots with my phone. We talked for hours. We finally had to force ourselves to leave so the family could leave. They were exhausted.
We left from the hotel about 9ish and got there around 10:30. It was a beautiful day. I always forget that everything is so flat, then bam, you are driving through this semi-mountainous area (okay, not anything like the Rockies, but in this flat land they seem like mountains.) It is also interesting that these cacti aren’t seen much around the area until you get close to the caverns and they are everywhere.
The children enjoyed the cavern. Little KC asked me a gillion times when we were going to see the bats. And I told her a gillion times we would not see any bats. The bats only come out at night. I did have a desire to see them because as many times as I had been to the caves it never was convenient to stay late enough to watch the bats. It didn’t happen this time either. We were all so tired and hungry after the tour of the cavern we just left in search of food.
The caverns were beautiful. It is such a different kind of beauty than we see in the sky and mountains and forests. These formations look like draperies of icing and mounds of ice cream melting down the side of a dish. They look like popcorn kernels and fairies.
When we were all touring the cave, Little KC and I got ahead of the group. We went into the lunchroom to begin lunch thinking everyone else would come there. They chose to finish the tour and go above ground. So after we finished our tour and got to the top they were all waiting for us.
Back in Hobbs that afternoon we drove around town to the places we used to live and our old schools. We found this lovely sign at the Jr. High KG and I attended. You will understand now why I might have misspellings 🙂
It finally started raining on us so we went back to the hotel.
Saturday morning we drove out to the New Mexico Junior College where my dad had worked all the years we lived in Hobbs. He showed us the engraved stone honoring those who had served 20+ years at the college. His name is on the stone.
They were having student orientation for incoming new students at the college. We all got free t-shirts from the local casino. Dad ran into a few people he knew and we saw the new baseball field.
All in all it was a great time for family and reminiscing. It was special for my parents that we all 3 were there along with our kids. My dad mentioned several times how glad he was we all went.
I’m so sad for the reason for the trip, but glad we were able to be together.
Dad has been in the hospital for almost 2 weeks now. He had a torn aorta. It was very scary. They did surgery as quickly as they could and that went very well. Now they are trying to get his medications regulated so he can go to rehab.
As strong as my daddy will always be in my mind we know our bodies will waste away eventually. If not his first, then another. There won’t always be opportunity for trips like these. Our Thanksgivings will not always include the entire family. Some will go on to their new home of glory before the rest of us.
I’m so glad we had this opportunity and took advantage of it while we could. I will treasure it forever.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18