Continuing my ‘Lost Days of 2011′ series, here is another memory that went unchronicled last year. I don’t know what I was thinking, to leave this vacation out!
Perhaps one of the hardest things for my mother-in-law to do last year, was to host us all at Fort Clark without her husband. Mamie has this idea that Bill was ‘the fun one’ and it was a big step for her to let us all come back to Texas in the Summer of 2011, with Grandad having died in February.
Still, how could it be Summer without a week or two in Texas? So many of our best and happiest memories are rooted in that place — we were thrilled that Mamie agreed to let us all come.
With the seven of us, Dan and his three, Aunt Stephanie, Jenn and Logan, and David R. thrown in for good measure, it was a large, silly crowd. Mamie was a very good sport to put up with us all, and to be ‘the fun one’ in her own right.
As usual, we spent many days at the football-field length pool, playing games and making ice-cream pilgrimages to Pico’s in the evenings. But we also went bowling, launched water balloons, and geocached as well. It was a fun-filled visit, with lots of cousin-time and opportunity to rest and relax.
It was strange to be there without Grandad. I tried to go for lots of golf-cart rides, and I even read a couple of Louis L’Amour books (just to get into the spirit of the thing) but we very much missed his larger-than-life, boisterous Grandad-in-vacation-mode persona.
We missed having Phil and Emily there, but it was good to have some time with Jenn and Logan. One of the best things about Fort Clark is that you seem to have plenty of time there — the slow pace demanded by the heat is a welcome change from our busy lives.
Thanks to Aunt Kate and Uncle Jerry, who let us stay at their house, we had plenty of room to sleep and play games. They have been so kind to us, over the years, and I often worry that we are not sufficiently thankful. This year, I had the idea that we could each write a thank-you note to them each day — it turned into quite a pile of mail. I hope we didn’t irritate them more than we communicated our thanks.
As a parent, I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing my children interact with their cousins. There is something particularly special and precious about a close relationship with a cousin — that bond of blood seems to establish a level of trust that isn’t found in any other relationship.
Truly, an unforgettable Summer vacation. Thank you, Mamie, for letting us visit you at Fort Clark. Thank you for being brave and doing it without Bill.