Again, it’s been a while since my last post. In the past I’ve had problems, mainly with being out of town and trying to catch up with my correspondence. A couple times I had a computer crash.
We still leave town from time to time, but now it’s compounded by another problem. Our parents are rapidly approaching the century mark. Until last year when planting season was too wet, my wife’s father planted a backyard garden approaching half an acre. No one ever explained to him that it’s hard work. On top of that, he has at least one family party every week, and he does the cooking. It’s embarrassing to go, because not many people realize that I’m younger than he is. A few months ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer, but that hasn’t slowed him down.
In the next 3 years, my parents will hit their 75th anniversary. That used to be the diamond anniversary, but with inflation of anniversaries, I don’t know what it is any more. But there is a down side to it all. They’ve lost most of their short-term memory, and we get calls from them at all times of day and night asking about something that we’ve talked about many times before but they don’t remember. We spend a large part of our week visiting with them because something is always going on. Sometimes we take turns. Often we need to go shopping – one of my least favorite things. When we can, we take a short vacation break, but it never lasts long enough. Several times we’ve had to cut a short vacation even shorter because of some emergency.
Just a few months ago, we went on a vacation with my parents to the Smoky Mountains, and all of my brothers met us there. It may be the last for my dad, since he has had an increasingly difficult time getting around. One of our favorite past-times is hiking the trails. We picked a couple particularly easy ones. There are two very close to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Just behind the center, is a short trail leading to a pretty little fall, and a slightly more strenuous trail that passes one of the original homes in the foothills. We passed on those for a paved absolutely flat half-mile trail a couple miles from there that goes through a settlement that still existed when the park was built. The homes were near the fork of two mountain streams and you can easily make out where two of the homes and a stone wall were. Dad got out, took a few steps to read a sign, then got back in the car where he remained for the rest of the outing. It started snowing about then.
We drove to the NC side and visited nearby falls on the Cherokee reservation, then went on to Bryson City to see Junie Whank, Indian Creek, and Toms [sic] Branch falls. By the time we finished, the roads in the park were closed and we had to take the long route home over steep mountain roads. We had to cancel our plans to visit Cataloochee since Dad wouldn’t be able to visit the settlement homes. We also weren’t sure whether the elk had come down from the hills.
Since then he has gotten progressively worse and insists on using a wheelchair. Mom still gets around well, although she doesn’t like hiking. She has expressed an interest in going on vacation with us when we get a chance. I’m hoping that our plans don’t get cut short again.
On top of everything else, some of our friends are dying of cancer. My wife babysits half a week at a time for our youngest granddaughter since her other grandmother is on a downward spiral with esophageal cancer. The same is happening in our extended family, so we have a hard time taking a break.
I’m almost caught up on my e-mail and the blogs that I read, so I may be able to post another entry soon. Until then…