Did you know that I decided as a teenager that I would be marrying someone from the midwest? Especially Oklahoma or Kansas? The adolescent me felt a deep connection with the normal life and environment of the farmer, familiar with fields of wheat and other grains. So, when I was falling right in love with Greg at Wheaton, I noticed with satisfaction that he was from that part of the country, and figured that had to be at least part of why I was so attracted to him.
Our recent trip to Wichita was a huge undertaking, and I wasn’t sure how all those hours in the van were going to be. As it turned out, we spent much of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the road, since it is 900 miles out there and back. “Why didn’t you fly???” we got asked. Because for a family of seven, sometimes flying is not the best way to travel, especially in light of potential weather delays.
We tried to rent a 12- or 15- passenger van, and were assured “We have PLENTY available,” at the point of actually renting, we found out they had NONE available. Instead, we were blessed with only having a conversion van available to rent. The Magical Van, I call it, since the kids traveled beautifully, including Kepler. Nothing like a long car trip to make everyone either hate each other, or give everyone some pretty good family time. Of course, it helps to have a driver such as Greg, who rivals any standup comedian, especially early in the morning or late at night. For instance, Thursday morning as we waited in the Starbucks drive-through, he finished up his, what did he call that Fairfield Inn coffee, “blackened, crusty stew-water.” Valerie seems to be very good at remembering things and being able to act them out, so she treated us to plenty of Brian Regan routines as well. Basically, my family is good at turning everyday life into hilarity, which makes for a good trip.
The visitation and funeral were done the old-fashioned way, and there was a family lunch at the church afterwards, prepared by one of the Sunday school classes of older folks. Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, bread, and church dinner salads. Iced tea, coffee, cake. It was the same dinner we had for the family lunch after Greg’s mother’s funeral. I guess I’m just an old-fashioned kind of a girl, because I felt comfortable there in the church. Loved hearing the hymns sung, and deeply appreciated that lunch lovingly prepared by people who see this as their ministry.
All in all, strangely enough, the trip energized me and helped me out of a funk I had fallen into of late. Our ties to Wichita are mostly over, but I will always love the town, the people there, and that part of the country.