Off-roading in a Little Blue Honda

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We are experiencing what is called a superbloom here–wildflowers galore. And so of course, I needed to go get pics.

We followed this innocent looking path into the fields. Okay, it was one car width wide, but we were only one car, right? There were amazing sites back in the off-roading beyond, and we had fun with many oohs and ahs. Met a couple from Ventura, CA, who insisted they take our picture for posterity. They, it might be noted, had a big truck.

We were fine until our path-road turned to waves and humps of silty sand. We kept ploughing through–literally–all the time wondering if AAA would rescue us out here. And could they even find us. We prayed and kept driving, shaving off the middle of the trail with our under-carriage, swerving now and then as our trusty tires desperately sought to find grip. We breathed a sigh of relief when the road firmed up again; but then, we held our breath as the bottom sunk out from below us once more.

Amazing! Amid screams and jolts (The screams were not from me but from the grit caught in the tire wells, I assume.), we managed to see civilization in the form of Ave. D.

It took us about 10 miles before sand stopped coming out from under our vehicle on every breaking, stopping, and turning.

Bless our wee Honda and the mighty Lord of not only wildflowers, but also of wily seniors who insist on venturing into the unknown.

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I Miss My Mother

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I miss my mother.

Not the pained days and her lonely, disorienting moments,
not the frontal lobe disintegration that turned a stable woman of integrity into a silly, flirting schoolgirl,
not the numbness and loss of dexterity that stole the pleasure of creativity from her busy fingers.

I miss the laughter, the sneaky tricks, the Scrabble games at midnight. I miss the hint of mischief behind those blue eyes. She saw it so clearly in us because it was self-diagnosis.

I miss her dedication to home and family that gifted us with pies and cookies, doilies and quilts, music and ministry, prayers by the bed, and testimony in every routine act of living.

Discipline was not always pleasant, but forgiveness was metered out with hugs and affirmations. When I finally got caught stealing Daddy’s pocket change and hoarding it under my mattress in an old condom box, I got the just talking to, but my repayment plan was probably a third of what I stole and so much less than what I deserved. Perhaps part of my debt was paid in the moments of laughter behind her hand.

I miss her full mind, her surety, her security in faith tested. If she ever doubted, her passion and love for the lost washed over any questions she may have had.

I miss her determination to press on through bad memories and disappointments, betrayals and sorrows.

Her commitment to work in the church and community, to pour her energies out to bring along the weaker and the worn, kept her going past her physical strength and only faded with her fading mind.

On that day, your spirit soared as I flew homeward, and I like to think I met you in the air as you left this hard place, though whether heaven is up, down, or sideways, I don’t know; but I know
you are surely there, as surely as life has gone on.

There are some days in this topsy-turvy world,
I really miss my mother.

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I Miss My Father

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I miss my father.

Not the last, lingering days when the ravages of Parkinson’s stripped his body of strength and dignity,

not the growing quiet and dimming light, the betrayal of senses with the ambush of age and degeneration,

not the loss of skill and purpose with increasing dependence.

I miss the stories, the laughter, the dropping of the false teeth to scare innocent children.

I miss the sawing afternoon naps in the recliner, the dirt between the fingernails, and the smelly old farm boots.

I miss him, dusty and weary, still willing to amaze his children at day’s end by playing a bit of softball in the failing light—and hitting that ball to kingdom come.

I miss stealing sips of his instant coffee and codependent sampling of forbidden pies.

It’s the wisdom, I miss most. The forgiveness and acceptance, the knowing that in my stupidest moments, he was still my rock, my shelter, my willing warrior.

I looked at his picture on my dresser today, and a tear caught in my throat because as long as it’s been and
as surely as life has gone on,
there are some days in this topsy-turvy world,
I really miss my father.

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