October 4, 2013

What I remember about the visit with my Aunt Aggie a year ago is that she suggested I get some of my mother’s old clothes to her so she could make memory bears for the family if my mother passed.  She may have said “when” but I heard “if.”  Aunt Aggie told me that my mother thought it was ghoulish to plan ahead.  But when Aunt Aggie showed me the bears she had made with her husband’s (Uncle Dave’s) plaid shirts for all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I could see the love and care that went into each bear and that created each memory. Little did I know that two and half months later my mother would pass away and that Aunt Aggie, my cousin Denise, my sister, and I would look through my mother’s clothes and select the items that would make 24 bears for our family.  Aunt Aggie and Denise outdid themselves.

October 3, 2012: Montrose, Colorado

Last night we drove around BYU, Mike’s alma mater, and then spent 47 minutes trying to find our motel. Provo is laid out in a logical grid, but we didn’t have the secret handshake so we added to our car time. This morning we toured the beautiful campus on foot and I discovered BYU is built on a plateau which is accessed through several levels of stairs. Regardless, I did enjoy the campus and I needed the exercise. From Provo we drove to Montrose, CO, to see my favorite aunt, my mother’s younger sister Aggie.

Aunt Aggie is the favorite aunt of all her 35 nieces and nephews because she’s a kick in the pants. When showing us the huge shower in the master bathroom of her daughter’s home, she said “it’s big enough for a threesome.” Vintage Aunt Aggie! Like her older sisters (Alma, Eileen, my mother, and Mary), Aunt Aggie pulls no punches, tells hilarious stories, and expresses affection through action. These days she makes “Memory Bears” for children who have lost loved ones.

After our visit we checked into a motel, ordered Thai food for delivery and turned on the Obama-Romney debate. No comment.

Oct 4, 2012: North Platte, Nebraska

Ended up stopping late in North Platte—after 3 near-death experiences on the road.  Well, maybe only one could’ve resulted in our joint demise.  Mike was looking at the lane to the left of us, when a truck pulled out in front of us.  Luckily, my inarticulate gurgle alerted Mike and the good brakes on the Santa Fe kept us from hitting the truck.  Later, exhausted, Mike drove around North Platte looking for a place to have dinner; as much as we would prefer to eat at local places, sometimes there’s no choice, so Applebee’s it was.

A word about the so-called breakfasts at the places we stay.  Keep in mind we choose our motels based on having memberships and the inclusion of breakfast.  So far the 3 Hampton Suites we’ve stayed at—including the overpriced one in Colorado, which smelled like cow poop (just outside)—have provided the same limp, almost disgusting choices.  Hot brown water (erroneously labeled coffee), watery juice, 3 kinds of milk (all are skim but they are labeled skim, 2% and whole) are the beverage choices.  No water, which would be better.  Anemic plain bagels, always stale pastries, selections of cereals no one eats, and congealed oatmeal do not prepare you for the horror of the hot dish possibilities. Home fries consist of uniform squares of a potato like substance.  While he avoided those, Mike actually put the “western style omelet” on his plate before coming to his senses and throwing it away.  I don’t know what it tasted like but it looked like it had been made last month in a microwave with powdered eggs and three pieces of bell pepper (2 green, one red).  Not for the faint of heart.  I tend to eat an English muffin with peanut butter and an Activia yogurt.  Yes, Activia.  Yes, for the reason you’re thinking.

Even though North Platte wasn’t the most exciting town, we did manage to get out of there ahead of the snow…  Also, the nice folks at Hampton Suites gave us a conference room, which enabled us to bring in the luggage and repack so that we now have access to our cold weather clothes (since a cold front has definitely moved in).  Mike decided to use a new app on his phone to start the car; it worked and he got the message: mission accomplished.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t our car he started.  Somewhere in the world a car is warmed up and ready to go…

Beautiful Colorado

Beautiful Colorado

North Platte, NE: One of the many Buffalo Bill historic landmarks--apparently he got around

North Platte, NE: One of the many Buffalo Bill historic landmarks–apparently he got around