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And I’m Back … More or Less

After nearly three years of no traveling, not even within the not-so-great state of Florida, we finally, FINALLY, took a trip. It wasn’t the most exciting trip we could have taken, but it was the most important. We went to my old childhood stomping grounds and visited family. As many of you know, my mom is 98. I also have an older sister living with Parkinson’s, and a younger cousin living with Multiple Sclerosis. So this trip was bittersweet.

My mom is in good health, with a strong enough constitution to insist that it would be “ridiculous” (her word) to live to 99 or longer. I know she’s ready to go, but it was good to see her enjoying herself during our visit.

My sister … well, I hadn’t seen her in about six and a half years, so it was a shock to see what Parkinson’s had done to her body. Still, mentally, she was all there, quick to spar with words, get the joke, and say when she was done for the day.

My cousin, I hadn’t seen her in the same length of time. Fortunately, she was feeling well enough to sit through a short visit. She still has her bright, light-up-the-face smile, but wouldn’t talk much about her illness. The visit with her was rich: when she married some thirty-odd years ago, she and her husband built a house and included an in-law section for her mother and father. Her father (my uncle) is now deceased, but her mom (my aunt, my mother’s sister) is still vibrant at 94.

While we were there, my cousin’s nine-year-old granddaughter stopped in after school, to wait for her dad who would take her to judo. At first shy, Farrah was soon entertaining us with stories about her chickens. The best part was watching how she interacted with her great-grandmother. My aunt insisted on sharing her chair with Farrah, and I could see that they had a warm, loving relationship. 

It was, as always, an interesting experience to sit at a table with my mom and my aunt at either end, both hard-of-hearing, playing messenger when one couldn’t hear the other. In fact, most of the people we saw, including ourselves, are hard of hearing. Some who need hearing aids wore them (myself, my husband, my sister); some who need hearing aids didn’t (my mother). I never talked so loud and for so long in my life.

My husband and I consider our trip to be a great success. I didn’t plan anything, just knew generally what I wanted us to do: get my mom and her sister together; meet one of my cousins for the first time (long story for later); spend as much quality time with my mom and sister as possible. Check, check, check.

Now, who knows what the future holds. I feel it stretching before me. I’ve come home to a couple of doctor appointments and not much else, and that’s just fine. I say I’m back “more or less” because part of me is still in New York, still musing about all we saw and did there.

Of course, one of the things I did there was take photos. On our first evening, we took a short walk across from our hotel and saw these lovely wildflowers. 

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This was the view from our window. No, it’s not spectacular, but it was a nice view nonetheless. One evening I watched a rabbit hop around the grounds, probably checking out the picnic table (not seen in photo) for crumbs.

View from room window–Holiday Inn, Johnstown, NY

My mom has purple tulips in her little garden.

We flew out of Albany, New York at 6 AM. This is was the view after we’d been in the air about a half-hour or so.

View from plane.

Finally, to my surprise and delight, my onion bloomed in time for our return home.

The whole onion plant

The onion plant was an experiment. A couple of months ago, one of the onions I had bought for cooking started to sprout. On a lark, I decided to plant the onion and see what would happen. I don’t know if the long stalks are edible (they smell like green onions when I cut them), but I got pretty excited when bulbs appeared on a couple of them. And this is the result.

Onion bloom

Thank you for reading. Here’s your reward for reading to the end. 

Raji chilling on the back porch in his “pen den.”

Categories: Writing

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

34 replies

  1. Hello Raji! You do look very relaxed and glad your people are home.

    I’m glad you had a good trip. How wonderful that everyone was able to be there, physical limits and all. And how wonderful to have two very elderly relatives still sharp and independent. I was just musing that my older brother is the oldest person left in our family. Not counting two cousins whom I’m not sure are still alive. They haven’t responded to Christmas cards.

    There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get onions if you plant a sprouted onion. I’ve read, but haven’t yet tried, that you can have never ending spring onions if you keep planting the root end. I really want a garden. You never know, perhaps next year.

    Welcome home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Zazzy! Hope next year is your year for a garden 🙂 That’s interesting about onions … I should try the stalks sometime … but I’m really enjoying the flowers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I love that photo from the plane. I can’t do that. It always comes out a mess. I’m so glad you had wonderful time with family. LOL about who was—and wasn’t—wearing hearing aids. Priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After three years, it sounds like you came ‘home again’ in the best possible way. How special the two sisters are still able to communicate and enjoy each other in their ‘later years’.
    Oh and tell your Ma, I love her purple tulips…I am partial to them, you know!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you had a great trip and visit with your family, Marie. It sounds like what you needed–you got to see everyone while they are still in relatively good shape. I’m trying to imagine those dinners with all the loud voices! 🤣
    I love the photo taken from the plane. It’s so calming. Raj, of course, is adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never seen a purple tulip! So glad your trip, though bittersweet, was overall good. Parkinson’s is so hard. The mother of a friend is dealing with it as is another friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, L. Marie! My dad had Parkinson’s but due to medications he took for years for his mental illness (I know, salt in the wound); but I wasn’t prepared for how my sister looked and how she struggled with her body. Still, I’m grateful that cognitively she was all there. Her husband is my husband’s hero. I never saw a man be so patient and so tender, especially considerating that she is still hard-headed 😉


  6. It sounds like your visit with family went well and you had a good time. You were wise to just let things happen, instead of planning them down to the hour. I love that you got to talk chickens with a little girl. That’s nothing to cluck about.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Tulips of any colour are a delight. The purple variety even more so. I am just discovering other delights in my life like having relatives that are now hard of hearing and my husband is getting that way now. The trouble is he doesn’t tell me when he hasn’t heard me and it makes for loads of miscommunications as he often guesses wrong. I will have to project my voice more!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marie, it sounds like a wonderful family visit. So much richness in relationships and relatives. Your mother and aunt seem to be pretty perky for their ages, and it’s great that you were able to connect with your sister and cousin considering their medical situations. Thanks for all the images, especially the one of Raji in relaxation mode.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, handsome Raji. Love him! The photos are wonderful, Marie.
    I’m so glad the trip went so well. It must have felt very satisfying to see the relatives who are old and/or inform, as well as that bright spot of youth!

    Liked by 1 person

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