The mornings are all the same for me in this place. I toss in dreams through the wee hours, rise prior to dawn feeling ready for the day. Today I write until about 7 am, when Don arrives with a protien shake for me. Yum. I finish the shake and my thoughts head for breakfast. I do some chores and look at some more pictures. Aunt Kathy seems to get great pleasure from combing my hair.
We put a picnic together and go to the campus of nearby Farrow University. It’s perfect. I push Aunt Kathy in her wheelchair on the path around a picturesque lake. We identify trees, Don goes running around to read the nameplates on more distant specimens. We take pictures. The light is gorgeous. We forget our troubles and differences, and just play. Anabel and I do some acrobatics together in the grass while picnicking, until at last we tumble to the ground in laughter. Uncle Don rests his back on Kathy’s wheelchair, and we all share a sort of timeless reverie. At some point we fall out of it, see the outing is done, and head for the car.
While the others rest I write and trace a large portion of my route out on an extra map I have. I get online briefly to beg Nathan to reboot my web server. I also send a note to Rick Cruz. I don’t mention the web page to him, but I know he could probably fix it easily. Maybe a friendly email will prompt him to discover the problem on his own.
I’m becoming aware that I talk about my travels all through meals, I hope to the genuine interest of my hosts and not just their manners. Anabel hears me answer the same questions many times and begins to understand my position better. I help with cleanup after dinner, wanting to contribute something to my upkeep. I feel I’m living quite luxuriously at the expense of the students here.
I go for a ride with Anabel, noticing her driving is quite aggressive, a stress outlet perhaps. She details to me some of the phrases of Aunt Kathy’s illness, for which I fail to adequately acknowledge her crucial role. I’m sure she’s looking for some sort of recognition, however small. But some kind of denial blinds me to this for the moment.
I demonstrate the bike for a large audience, giving the kids rides and letting the tall guys try it. I realize my rear tube is really full of holes. We have to add air, and it’s soon low again.
We talk family until well after dark, feeling much closer. I read my Dad’s poetic tribute to Dinger aloud with my own real feeling. Uncle Don all but asks me to talk about religion, but I don’t want to end the visit on that note. I go to bed.