Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Dig Deeper! Dig Deeper!" "You know what we need is a box!"

Well, I was finally able to use that "free" Northwest plane ticket that I "earned" last September 2005 when returning from Europe with Mom and Alal in the Memphis airport and after they flew on to their homes. After months of looking for a weekend that would coordinate with our schedules and planned trips, I was finally able to use my ticket to purchase a flight to Shreveport; and Dad used some of his frequent flier miles to purchase Mom, Aunt Jan, and Macy each a ticket as well. Thanks, Daddy! So early last Wednesday morning, we each flew into Memphis and joined one another and flew on together to Shreveport. After taking a taxi to Alal's home, we visited with Pawpaw for a few minutes before going to get some lunch , and then we began hitting the liquor stores for boxes to begin packing up the treasures in Alal's home.

That evening we began our packing, crying, laughing, etc. Then the next morning, we all awoke early and began working some more. And each time we stepped outside to catch our breath, we would have to smile when we looked across the street and saw a dog that would stay on his owners' rooftop awaiting their return. He was so cute and always brought a smile to everyone's face! Once we were out of boxes, we ran out for some lunch at The Real Pickle (if one is ever in the area, this fun restaurant is a must... just to read the menu...their selections are hysterical! I think that my personal favorite for that day was "Frankly my dear, I don't give a ham!") So we had a great lunch and then began searching for more boxes so that we could get back to work. Knowing that we needed to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy some protective packing boxes for china, we found ourselves behind the stores driving around for some "clean" dumpsters. We found one located behind a party store, so Macy and I watched while Mom & Aunt Jan began their search. While I saw a few "nice and clean" boxes coming out, I saw something else fly out! It was a pair of Bubba Teeth...still in their package! So I ran to assist Jan and encourage her to "Dig deeper; Dig deeper!" We were pulling out more and more toys than we knew what to do with, and we laughed so hard until we could no longer breathe! The funniest thing was when Aunt Jan was able to say, "You know what we need for all of this stuff is a box!" We had completely gotten off track! I never thought that I would find myself leaning into a dumpster and encouraging someone to look deeper (well, with the exception of our sweet Greg W. ;)! So after a little more "shopping", a quick clean-up, some Chinese take-out, we had a relaxing dinner and then got back to work! A what laughter those Bubba teeth gave us...even Pawpaw caught onto our contagious laughter! God knew that we needed some comic relief!

The next morning, we again awoke early and we realized how many new experiences Macy was having when she asked, "Are we going back to the liquor store or dumpster diving to get some new boxes!?! Are we driving or taking a taxi?" Sweet girl! After another long day of packing, the house definitely looked worse before it began to look better! We all hated that Pawpaw had to see it like that, but we did uncover many wonderful treasures! We found many photos; birth, wedding and death announcements; love-letters between our ancestors; baby and bridal clothes; family scrapbooks; etc. It was all so amazing and wonderful to behold!

Then Saturday morning, we were able to visit with two of Alal's dearest friends before Mom, Macy and I drove over to spend the afternoon with Mamaw. What a wonderful time we had seeing Mamaw. We took her out to lunch and then drove her to her home-town where there was a little festival with parade happening. We didn't know what time the parade was to begin, but with the Lord's blessing and perfect timing, we pulled the car up to a stop-sign right as the beginning of the parade approached us. Mamaw enjoyed getting to see many old friends, and we actually found ourselves as a part of the parade as the parade looped its way back out of town...we also found our newest passion...we met some wonderful people that owned a childrens' shelter and raises miniature horses, which we would love to do one day! After a wonderful day with Mamaw we returned to Shreveport, helped Aunt Jan box up a few more boxes before going to get some dinner.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Aunt Jan as Pawpaw took her back to the airport, and Mimi, Macy and I joined Rachel and Brian Grete and their dear family for church and lunch. Then we returned back to Alal's house for a quiet afternoon and packed up a few last things before packing our suitcases for our trip back home. After such a rushed and busy weekend, we were all very tired and weary (and Macy wasn't feeling well), so we were looking forward to returning home and to be able to sit and relax on the plane-ride back home. The next morning, Pawpaw drove us all back to the airport, and we began our trip back home. Perhaps that plane trip was my breaking point for realization that things would never be the same again, for as our plane lifted off of the ground in Shreveport, I burst into tears and tried to grasp the realization that everything is completely different now. Although we all told her, I'm not sure that Alal would have ever realized how greatly we all loved her and how greatly she will be missed! After a quick lunch with Mimi in the Memphis airport, we headed to our different planes and returned home safely. It was SO good to be home!

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