Terrible vacation. Started out so hectic. left at 11:30am, after spending all morning making trip after trip to the van loaded down with clothes and food and all the paraphernalia that goes with two small children.
Overcast and cool, hazy. Stands of tall trees, mushroomed with green leaves. John screaming in the car seat. D won't pull over so I can take him out and nurse him, so I nurse him while he sits in the car seat! (He's sleeping now.)
Anne threw a frightful tantrum before we left. It began in the front yard when she saw a little boy's kite. She is transfixed with it and wants one, has talked of nothing else for two days.
Everyone piled into the van.
12:26pm...Both children resting quietly. D's mother in the last seat. Pillows for Anne to lay her head on-- still strapped in to her youth seat, though.
2:22pm...Delicious lunch in Yankton (SD), green salad and sandwich. The sun trying to break through now. I changed John and fed him. Everyone feeling much better.
Monday...went to Madison (SD) to Lois and Loren's.
Different impressions: on the way, both children sleeping in their car seats, heads tilted to the side. D's mother in the last seat again, behind them. Narrow, two-laned highways, occasional curves, expanses of green pastures with an occasional small herd of cattle clumped together, tails swishing away at the flies. Clumps of trees at shelterbelts.
Lois, looking very tired around the eyes, but happy to see us. Soft as always-- soft blond hair, soft blue eyes, soft white skin, and her lovely gentle soft voice.
Quaint house: harmonious, something about it making me think of an earlier era-- the oval, beveled glass in the front door, the wood trim running around the living room wall a foot from the ceiling, the small rooms coming into and out of one another.
Loren and the college campus...Loren in tie and shirt. The hum of computers, the rustic old buildings, the beautiful library, the nudes in pencil on the wall. Walking across campus-- tall evergreen trees and flowers and neatly mowed lawns, and I thinking the whole time of John and Anne, who were crying when we left them. (And when we got back, they were quiet and serene and perfectly content!!)
The drive home in the evening: lovely green fields, different shades of green, and haze and mist laying in the little valleys and shelterbelts. A haze and far off on the horizon a lavender ridge, separated from us by vivid green valleys. The sun going down, one minute hiding behind bands of clouds, the next emerging again, a vivid large orange, almost a Harvest Moon quality to it, lovely. Anne enthralled.
Almost dark when we got home. It was a beautiful drive, a lovely evening.
The table was beautifully set-- dainty bowls of salads, and clear pitchers of red juice, and strong dark coffee.
Aunt Laura, immaculate as always, earrings and necklace, and white slacks, and hair freshly permed. Uncle Ed standing at the stove stirring gravy!...tall, and his eyes bulging a bit, giving a startled look to his face.
The children were pretty good, between D and I we kept them fairly content and out of things. It helped that Aunt Laura had the house swept almost completely clear of knick-knacks. Anne sat up to the table and ate beautifully. I was very proud.
Ernie & Irene's:
Irene, nervous and shaky as usual. The lovely living room *Cold* from the air-conditioner. The children best kept in the kitchen. Their German Shepherd pacing his pen. Irene showed us the upstairs...five lovely bedrooms. The upstairs *Very* hot. Ernie the same as always, obviously delighted with the kids.
Roger & Debbie:
Debbie very pretty and summery looking with short, cropped hair. her look of surprise when we drove in, red bandana on her head.
John played quietly on the living room floor with toys, Anne with Colton and Mandy (Roger & Deb's children)-- upstairs and then outside for a while. I get Anne to come in and cool off. My white shoes get filthy traipsing through the weeds and dirt, looking at horses and dogs!
There is very little real "girl-talk". I am disappointed. She talks horse with D, "man" talk, breeding and prices and sales and bloodlines, etc. And they are going to be building a new log home and selling their farm. So more (of what I call) "man" talk-- lots and prices and construction and pole barns, etc.
We come and go to these places so quickly, an hour and a half at each place. I feel that a connection is barely made, something almost left incomplete when we leave. Strange feeling.
Tom & Janice's house:
It was a 'lost' evening. Janice had wanted us to do something as a couple and leave D's mother there with the children. Her house is wall to wall knick-knacks and crystal! John turned out to be crabby, and I spent the evening giving both babies their baths in her tub. There was a gas leak, and Tom was gone downstairs with the repairman most of the time.
Almost all I can say of this visit is that we got to see Tom and Janice before we left. I really didn't get to talk to her at all.
Vern & Tracy's:
It begins noisily. Anne crabby and crying and wanting on my lap, John wanting on my lap to nurse at the same time! Very, very hot. One small fan, no windows open, no air-conditioning. Very soon Anne's head looks as though she's had a bucket of water poured over her hair. I suggest we go out and see Vern's new horse-- more to get some fresh air and the breeze. Even though it's very hot outside, it's still cooler than in the house, and it perks the children up.
The horse, a lovely dainty sorrel mare. Cows in the pen beside her, aloof. Vern's little golf cart, shiny and silvery blue, and the plastic seat is very hot!
The visit ends too quickly, as usual, but on a pleasant note-- a lovely lunch...iced tea; potato salad; and ham sandwiches; lemon jello with pineapple; and home canned pickles; afterwards hot coffee and homemade cookies (even in the heat, Tracy's coffee was good).
I think they are remarkable, Vern and Tracy, to be 85 and 86 years old, and still so independent and healthy and active.
This post has been taken, literally, from my diary pages, with very little or almost no editing. It was written on the fly, at still moments during the experience, and I didn't want to lose this feeling.