Hey it's good to be back home again

Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Yes n hey, its good to be back home again
-John Denver

We've arrived back home.

Our trip was bittersweet. My father had called last Monday to tell me he was flying up to Wisconsin because my grandmother was dying. The kids and I left in the car the next morning. That evening, Tuesday, my father called to tell me Grandma had passed away. While that's sad for us, she was 98 and not in good health. It was her time, and quite a blessing for her.

All of my cousins and siblings arrived for the funeral, and most of Grandma's great-grandchildren were there as well. It was so fun to see everyone and get reacquainted. Most we'd seen two summers ago, but some not for 20+ years. The event was truly organized around family, most of us stayed at the same motel, took over the hotel breakfast room during the day for chatting and playing games, and dined together. It couldn't have been better.

The service itself was a very traditional Episcopalian service. Lots of incense and song. Not modern by any means, but neither was my grandmother. I think it was exactly what she'd have wanted.

Sadly, while we were driving Wednesday Jason called to say his grandmother had passed away that morning. We hadn't known she wasn't doing well so it came as quite a sad surprise, but, like my grandmother, it was her time. It really sucked though that we couldn't be there for Jason.

The trip itself was great for me and the kids. It was so neat to get out of our little corner of the world and see fall/life elsewhere.

Some of the highlights of the road trip included:

Cotton plants in Georgia. On the way home we stopped along the interstate to take some ... it was just blowing everywhere and was laying all over the medians! And it really is like a cotton ball, I'm not sure what we expected but it's the neatest stuff. I still can't believe it grows on a plant the way it does. Nature is so amazing.

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Rolling hills where Grandpa Tom and Grandma Jenn live. We were lucky enough to visit them at their school on our way up, and have dinner with Grandma Jenn on our way home.

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Fall leaves! Oh my gosh, we were amazed and awed by the colors. The reds were so intense, I'd have never believed those were real colors in nature if I hadn't seen it myself.

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Frost. Again, we had to stop on the side of the interstate. But this, to Florida kids, was unique. They were so sure that it'd snow any minute after they felt the frost, but that wasn't in the forecast (in fact, it warmed up by the time we passed that way again).

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Playing in fallen leaves, rolling in fallen leaves, sliding through fallen leaves, and exploring the woods and ravines where I grew up.

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Seeing their breath.

Hotel rooms.

And things that defy explanation. On the parking ticket dispenser at Younkers. What the?

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More to come ... like haircuts and Hancock's of Paducah.

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