Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad were our camping buddies for MANY years.  From summer trips to the mountains or long hauls out of state they were always fun to travel with.

The season would always be kicked off with a day trip to Woods Lake, that later became Hope Valley, to check out the conditions regarding snow, etc., on Memorial Day.   The elevation is quite high so the camping season’s opening depended on the severity of the winter.

 

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We would bring our chairs, some snacks and a thermos of coffee and if it was sunny, sit and enjoy the views.  Sometimes the temps were just too chilly and we couldn’t handle more than a quick walk about before piling back in the truck and heading for Sorenson’s where we would enjoy a delicious meal in their warm and cozy establishment.

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This was taken at the Badlands while on our South Dakota trip.  That trip was full of interesting experiences.  We were on the go much of the time as there was so much to see and had some challenging mishaps with our rig.  My parents were both in their 70’s ( Dad, just barely) and they weathered our storms (one was literal) with cheerful attitudes and didn’t pass up any opportunity to see something new and interesting.

 

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This was at the north rim of the Grand Canyon and our last “long haul” with Mom and Dad.  We were headed for a family reunion in Texas and made sure that we saw lots of great stuff on the way there and the way back.  This trip had challenges of it’s own as while heading to Kansas to visit Mom’s brother, a driver lost control of his car and crashed into Mom and Dad’s motor home.  The motor home was totaled and so they had to rent a truck to transfer their stuff to and stay in hotels the rest of the trip.  Both of them still remained positive and determined to continue enjoying the trip.

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Camping was our family’s primary way of vacationing all during my growing up years.  In fact, their honeymoon was spent camping (she MUST have been in love!).  My parents started out with a tent and then a camper that my dad creatively turned into their first camping rig.  By the time I was about 10 they had a tiny travel trailer that they used for many years and during retirement went through a series of motor homes.  That last motor home, that was totaled in the accident, was replaced with a truck and fifth wheel. 

They both were lucky enough to retire in their 50’s and have spent many years wintering in Yuma, Arizona, making friends and thoroughly enjoying themselves.   I can’t say they were “snow-birds” as it doesn’t snow here except on extremely rare occasions.  But, we do have foggy winters.  So, I guess they were “fog-birds”.

We knew that the day would come when Mom and Dad would no longer be able to be our camping buddies.  That day came a little over 3 years ago when my Mom had a catastrophic medical issue that left her needing dialysis for the rest of her life.  She’s still with us but is now living in a residential care facility.  They only managed to use that nice, big fifth wheel in Yuma one year before this happened.  Now, it sits along the side of the house used mostly for stashing more of Dad’s junk.  Dad is still capable but can’t bear to take it out without Mom and can’t bring himself to sell it either.

Their lives have changed so much in the past three years that at times it’s easy to forget how much has been lost.  The other day Dad was mentioning how he thought he would string up some Christmas lights around the garage door at his house…..that he had a brand-new, unopened package of Christmas lights sitting in the fifth wheel.  I asked him why they were in the fifth wheel thinking it was because he uses it for a catch-all these days.  But, he replied that they were in the fifth wheel  because they used to deck it all out during the Christmas holidays when they were in Yuma.  That unused box of lights was a sad reminder of how much fun they used to have.

Mom and Dad have passed along their love of RVing to my husband and I.   But, there’s something else as well.   You see, they have tackled this period of loss in their lives much the same as the other ups and downs through the years…by remaining positive and continuing to find ways to enjoy the trip.  Dad’s stringing up lights on the garage and Mom is singing Christmas carols with the ladies in her care facility. 

I hope I will be able to face whatever life throws at me with the same grace that they have.  And that I too will always choose to find ways to enjoy the trip no matter what.

2 comments to Mom and Dad

  • Nancy  says:

    Love, love, LOVE these people!

  • April Broussard  says:

    So Sweet.

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