I have been fortunate to be able to see a lot of family in the past week. The first visit was for a happy reason. The second a sad one.
After completing the Roller Coaster 10K, Don, Ashley, Maia and I drove up to Boston to have lunch with 98-year young Aunt Elva and two of her children, Martin and Helen. Aunt Elva recently suffered a stroke, but is working hard to get stronger.
The get together turned into a impromptu birthday celebration for me, which was very sweet. Helen even provided my favorite cake -- chocolate ganoche. Mmm... it was good, and very thoughtful.
Boston was not at all on our way home from Springfield, MA. But, whenever possible, it is important to honor your elders and make time for them.
This became even more apparent when we learned my Uncle Tom's mother, Marge, passed away at age 86. Though I am not directly related to Marge, we consider her part of our extended family. whenever we gathered in Ohio to hang with the Smith family, Marge came along. Last December when I was in Ohio for the Christmas Story Race, I went to visit her in the nursing home. We chatted about how New Jersey will always be God's Country to her (take that, Sterling!). I don't remember what we talked about exactly. We used to talk about Janet Evanovich, and how her brothers went to Princeton University, and how she grew up in Montclair. It didn't matter what we talked about. She was always up for a good conversation and a visit.
When I learned of her passing, I looked online for a cheap airfare. I found one flying on Frontier Airlines from Ewing, NJ to Cleveland, OH for less than it would have cost me to drive. Of course flying to Cleveland meant renting a car, but it was still a bargain.
As a bonus, I was able to visit with Smiths ranging in age from under 2 weeks to 94 years old. The great thing about funerals is that normal life slows down so you can enjoy those who matter to you.
As an extra bonus, I was able to catch up with Heidi for lunch. This has been my third visit to Ohio in 12 months. While I am grateful for being able to go, I'd also welcome playing hostess and not putting so much wear and tear on my car. Hint, hint friends ... come and visit!