Did you ever have a perfect plan and it not work out quite the way you envisioned? Well that's what happened yesterday. I have talked about my girlfriend Holly before. We've been friends forever and the two of us are very much members of each other's family. Growing up, I would go with Holly to her camp just outside of Franklin. It is so peaceful and serene up there. And I always said that I wanted to honeymoon there. Years before I even started dating, I asked "Mom and Dad" if I could use it when I got married. And when Kenny and I got engaged and started discussing possible honeymoon destinations we realized that we didn't have a whole lot of money. So, I asked him if he would care just going up to the camp. He didn't. He understood my reasoning. Planning a wedding is so hectic and stressful. I wanted to regroup, to regain my senses and just plain relax. I asked Mom and Dad if their offer on the camp was still in effect and they said of course. So that's what we did. We drove up to the camp on Sunday. Took in a little Franklin, a little nature, a little peace and quiet. It was definitely more romantic than some old cruise ship. That camp, which Holly's mom over the years turned into a second home, will always be my peaceful haven and honeymoon bungalow.
Now Holly's mom passed away on my dad's birthday, March 16, 2005. And her father has moved up to the camp permanently. So, on our way to Franklin yesterday, I fulfilled my ongoing promise to come and see him. We never did make it into Franklin. He was so pleased to see us pull up. We sat outside for a little bit. I gave him some heck for condition of the camp. Nancy would have pitched a fit if she saw it looking like that. And we got to talking. He commented that he and Paul (Holly's older brother who has Down's Syndrome) were probably going to ride into town later to get something to eat. He hardly ever cooks. Nancy always did. He doesn't even really know how. So I offered to make him something. He wanted spaghetti with meat sauce to eat later that night. He's so sweet, he offered me a jar of Ragu and told me that I could use that and just add some meat and doctor it up a little. Now no self-respecting Italian uses jarred sauce. He did have a few cans of tomato sauce though. I checked out his pantry and he had the right seasonings. So I made it from scratch. He was thrilled. I put in a pyrex dish and put it in the fridge (which I cleaned out.) Then I picked up, threw things out and vacuumed. Made him some coffee and was planning on leaving.
Well he was deep into another story with Kenny. So I sat on the porch with them and listened. And one story flowed into another. And before I realized, it was almost 4 o'clock. Paul hadn't eaten yet and was getting pretty hungry. So, I put the water on and heated the sauce back up. He apologized over and over for wasting our day and my sweet husband assured him that we never had a concrete plans. This was fine. See Dad has told all us these stories a million times. But, most of them were new to Kenny. And he had a captive audience. He could talk about Mom and cry if he wanted. He could reminisce as slow as he wanted and no one was hurrying him along. Now, don't get me wrong, Holly's family treats him like gold and has nothing but the upmost respect for him. But they've heard all of these stories (so have I) and sometimes talking about Mom for that long does the opposite of what he intends. Instead of just thinking of her in happier times, not wracked in pain from all of the cancer - they start to get bitter. How could someone so full of life and so good to others be taken away so quickly. Feeling fine in October, diagnosed with stage-four cancer in December and gone in March. But with us, he could do all of that reminiscing and while I cried with him during certain stories, I didn't rush him along.
It's now 7 o'clock and dark outside. He gave us some flannels for the ride home and thanked us for sharing a day with an old man missing his wife of 49 years. We promised to come back up for Paul's hayride on the 27th and with me I will bring some more sauce. He told me how proud he was of his 3 daughters: Holly, her sister Kim and me. Mom always called me her adopted daughter and loved me as if I truly was one. Dad is no exception. I love this family like my own. So our trip to Franklin and romantic dinner never played out. But, sometimes something better happens.