My sister Nicole and her new husband Tracey came from New Orleans for a long weekend, along with Abby’s daughter Chele, husband Tom, and their baby, our grandson Paul, who flew from Baltimore.
Some highlights include a big lunch with guests and other family from around the area, shooting some of our firearms, which Tracey had never done, and firing off a family pack of fireworks at night. Abby and Chele got to go shopping together.
Of course there was much playing with the grandson, who is 18 months old. He is fast and strong and ultra-curious. Photographing him was challenging because every time I got on the floor to make pictures, he wanted to play with me.
The coolest thing about the weekend was our trip west for lunch at Meers, Oklahoma, near the Wichita Mountains, followed by Abby, Chele, Tom and the baby going to Abby’s hometown of Ryan, Oklahoma, while Nicole, Tracey and I headed to Lawton, Oklahoma, where Nicole and I grew up. Nicole and I told stories from our childhood more or less nonstop, and Tracey listened attentively. We drove around to all the schools we attended, along with both houses where we lived.
At the bigger of those houses, where we lived from 1978 until going off to college, we were stunned to find that the property had been trashed and abandoned, a victim of the housing crisis currently ravaging America. A nice neighbor next door told us it had it sat empty for a year. She told us that while it was trespassing, she’d look the other way if we wanted to go inside. Not only was it full of trash, it had been oddly and destructively modified with walls and closets where non were before, essentially ruining the floor plan. Even the kitchen cabinets had been painted black.
Tracey and Nicole drove home on Monday, and I have just returned from dropping Tom, Chele and Paul at the airport. As I wrote this, I got a message from Chele saying, “The pig is in the poke,” meaning they are home safe. Everyone had a grand time.