Morning in the Ozarks
We've been trying to figure out how to safely see my Dad for a while. Today was the day. We woke to a foggy morning in our Branson hotel.
I called Dad at 9 and reminded him we'd pick him up for a picnic at noon. I reminded him to wear his mask. As we drove 45 minutes to Springfield, I shook my head. Where's the sunshine that was predicted?
We arrived right at noon. Don and I put on masks and stepped out of the car. I was nervous. I haven't seen Dad in about a year and I knew I probably looked 3 years older with my ratty hair and covid stress wrinkles.
It felt awkward to focus on Dad's mask, instead of hugging. Dad has always greeted with big bear hugs. It was suddenly worse than awkward, when Dad said he wasn't able to go with us. I thought he was kidding. (Dad has an odd humor sometimes) "No. They said I can't go. We were all tested again this morning." It was a confusing moment. Dad was firm that they wouldn't allow him to leave. "Well, it was great to see you." He was actually going to head back inside.
To Hug or Not to Hug?
That is the question. I decided yes. If he was supposed to be quarantining. then, I'm sure hugs weren't allowed. But we hadn't driven from Texas to Missouri and isolated in a hotel for days, to just wave at each other.
I told Dad, "We're going to have a safe hug!" I hoped no staff was watching. I wonder when my dad's last hug was? He hasn't forgotten how!
Then I buzzed the front door and asked to speak with the director. After a quiet discussion about how safe Don and I have been for weeks, we were given permission to go on a safe outside outing. I'm not mentioning the name of the facility, because that was a tough call for the director. I so appreciate her understanding.
We rolled windows down in the car and kept masks on. Well, I actually had to remind Dad a few times to keep it on. We were good.
We picked up food from our all time family favorite, Steak 'n Shake! It was a short drive to Sequoia Park. The park felt peaceful and friendly. I liked the "Let's Be Together-ish" sign, with the 6 foot reminder.
Together-ish at the Table
Our little feast was a treat. Dad even had a milkshake. Don and I wore our masks until we were ready to eat.
I didn't bring a tape measurer, but that's as far apart as we could be.
We feasted and the sun got warmer...
We found a tiny bit of shade and got out the chairs and a table for books. I had Dad go through some of his old ones that I've been storing. He found some he wanted to take with him.
It felt heavenly to be in no hurry. It was nice to be in a park that Dad enjoyed, when he was young. Nearby train tracks inspired some talk about hopping trains... We talked about the picnic quilt and how I've used it for storytelling for years. We talked about elections and how Dad's mom and aunt argued... we talked about the current election and how glad Dad is, that he voted early by mail!
By 3:30 we had him back, with plans to pick him up in the morning. I still can't believe we pulled this off. I feel like we stole Dad away, even though we had permission. Oh, how grateful I am.
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!