Archive for the ‘Family’ category

Elizabethtown

April 4, 2012

When I was living in Louisville, Kirsten Dunst and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) were filming a movie called Elizabethtown on location in Elizabethtown, KY. A couple of years ago, I finally got [around] to watch[ing] the movie. It was a cute but very dark romantic comedy. The film centers around a suicidally depressed New Yorker, whose family hails from central Kentucky. He learns that a family member dies and he must go back to the Commonwealth for the funeral. Through the course of the film, Legolas meets and begins a relationship with a flight attendant, Kirsten Dunst, who challenges him to both grieve and find himself. The line from the movie that I always remember is “If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else,” meaning no matter what circumstances under which it happens, things are going to happen. In this case, it meant the family would gather together again. In all, it wasn’t a terribly great movie, but it wasn’t bad either.

On Monday, I was returning home from the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Shiloh and visiting Fort Donelson. My journey took me on the freeway along the outskirts of Elizabethtown, KY, and I considered stopping. It was about 2 in the afternoon, and I knew a stop would give me a delay of about 3 hours. You see, my grandmother lives in E-town. She’s in an assisted living facility there. I decided to press on to try to get home early, and I’d plan a longer visit later this month. As I made my decision, that line popped into my head. If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else. I made it home relatively early and finished unpacking my truck before the basketball game started. (WAY TO GO CATS!)

I found out yesterday at lunch that my grandmother had fallen on Friday and was taken to the hospital. She wasn’t seriously hurt, but they took her as a precaution. She was recovering very well, but mentally, she was in an age 10 or more years ago. She was talking about seeing long-dead family over the past few days and the coming days. She would never have recognized me if I had stopped to see her. As much as I would have liked to spend time with her, I felt a little less bad about not stopping.

Late last night, we got a call from my mother’s aunt. My grandmother had just passed away. Now I’m trying to find out how much work can be put off for another week and preparing to travel back to Elizabethtown tomorrow or Friday. I don’t know the funeral details yet, but it will likely be Friday morning or Saturday. Once again, that line is going through my mind: If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else.

Stopping wouldn’t have made a difference that she’d know, and to be completely honest, stopping wouldn’t have made much of a difference to me. Seeing her one last time in her mental state, would not have left me with a better memory of her life and the time we got to spend together.

I used to spend a week visiting when I was younger. My parents would meet my grandparents at either King Fish in Louisville or Frisch’s in Winchester, KY, and leave one of us with them and take the other two back home. For three weeks, my grandparents had one or another of us. We used to take walks on the trail to Freeman Lake. She always got after me whenever I ran ahead and got out of view, and I’d have to come back to her. We golfed at Fort Knox. Whenever we’d go on base, we’d stop at the PX, and I’d get Pringles. We stopped by the Coca-Cola bottling plant in E-town. We never went on the tour. We would just go in to look at the koi pond and get free drinks from the fountain. Nearly every time I was there, it was Shark Week. I don’t know if my parent’s planned it that way or not, but I’d watch all the shows on Discovery Channel in the evenings. My grandmother never understood why I’d want to watch shows about shark attacks every night for several hours, but she’d sit down in her chair and watch them with me.

When I was in college, I would call my grandmother from time to time. When she asked who was calling, I’d always announce, “It’s your favorite grandson!” She actually seemed to enjoy hearing me declare that. Those are the memories that I will keep with me of my grandmother.

Now, I find myself getting ready to go back to Elizabethtown a few weeks before I had initially planned to see my grandmother again. This time, it will be for one last time. The troubles my grandmother has had for the last seven or eight years are finally over. I’ll again make the journey to where my grandfather was laid to rest twelve years ago. I know that they’re together again. If it hadn’t been this, it’d be something else. Family together again.

Mighty Nimrod

June 4, 2010

Over the past week, we’ve been having a problem with some sort of pest eating our strawberries before we could.  I thought it was a rabbit.  Dad was sure it was a squirrel.  We even joked about leaving the dogs out all night to catch what it was.  I wouldn’t have put it past one of them either.

Munchkin looks like a black lab, is just slightly larger than a cocker spaniel, and is terrified of loud noises and anything unexpected.  She’d be an awful guard dog because she’d run in the opposite direction of anybody breaking in, but she’s a mighty nimrod.  I don’t mean that in a Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd sort of way, either.  She’s caught rabbits, a squirrel, a turtle – okay that one couldn’t have been that hard – and even two two birds while being confined to our yard.  Those are just the critters that she’s left us all or portions of as presents.  She’s even run the deer out of the yard so many times that they now just stop at the property line and look or cross the street to get to the neighbor’s yard.

Scruffy on the other hand is a beagle mix, who is ferocious when it comes to defending the family and property, but I have seen on a few occasions is frightened by even kittens.  She decided that she liked lying under the bushes in front of the house until a couple of days ago when some other creature, probably the same one that was eating the strawberries, had taken to the same spot.

Around 10 last night, Munchkin found that creature.  Munchkin went outside and I went downstairs.  A few minutes later, there was a lot of barking.  A LOT of barking.  When it died down, Dad came downstairs and went out the garage.  I went upstairs and saw Munchkin standing at the door wanting to go back out, and I found out shortly afterward that she had left a dead opossum on the walkway.  Dad disposed of it, and Munchkin looked quite dejected for the rest of the evening since her kill had disappeared.  Maybe now we’ll get some strawberries again though!

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April 30, 2010

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Rivers Bridge

February 1, 2010

I was at the reenactment of Rivers Bridge over the weekend.  Instead of boring you with stories of camping in the rain in a freezing swamp, I’ll tell you about the trip there and back.

Since I was passing through Charlotte to get to southern South Carolina, I arranged to visit with my little brother for a little bit.  It was a nice drive down, and I got to his exit from the interstate with very little trouble.  Unfortunately, I wrote right when I should have written left.  I ended up in what turned out to be a very sketchy neighborhood.  I found out later that it was where a gun fight between two cars started before going to the other side of the city.  Eventually I found his apartment.  I made arrangements for one last stop on the way down then we ate dinner and visited. In the morning we went out to REI to do some shopping.  I wanted boots.  He wanted to see the new REI store.  I’m pretty sure that REI could be a dangerous place for me to visit, but I managed to just get out with the new boots I wanted and my wallet still intact.  Then it was time for me to go on my way.

I made one last shopping stop in Columbia to get a pair of leather gloves for reenacting and hit the interstate again figuring I would stop in the last town before the reenactment site to get a bite to eat.  Little did I know that once I was 10 miles from the interstate, there would be no more eateries.  The last little town went by with nary a place to eat.

reenactment…. reenactment… skip skip skip…

It turns out that it was probably a good idea that I left early on Sunday.  The trees along the highway north of Columbia were covered in ice.  The roads in North Carolina were still wet, but they hadn’t refrozen yet.  Virginia had patches of very visible ice under every bridge.  West Virginia was smooth sailing though.  I made two stops for gas and two stops for coffee, and I was still home before the end of the Pro Bowl.  I didn’t watch it, but I was home before it ended.

I got a good night’s sleep.  I took the morning off (I was supposed to be out all day today.) and a long hot shower and shave later, I felt almost human again.