I'm back. I flew out Tuesday before dawn and flew back Friday night. This time I left my computer at home, so was incommunicado as far as the blog was concerned.
I met my brothers in Kansas City and drove with them through the Flint Hills to where my parents live. My sister would fly in later in the day.
There were hawks on almost every perch, flocks of singing meadow larks, and skeins of geese winding and unwinding overhead.
During our visit my brothers and I had time to take in some of the sights in the area. We drove up to Lindsborg, a Swedish heritage community, so my brother Pete could pick up a gift for his Swedish wife.
We went to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.
It's the home of many exhibits documenting the rise of our space program, including an SR 71 Blackbird spy plane and a full-size space shuttle mockup...
A lunar lander...
And the actual Apollo 13 capsule.
We even strolled through a Bass Pro Shop on our way back to Kansas City on Friday.
The real purpose of the visit, though, was to celebrate my Mother's 90th birthday on Thursday. My Dad is 91, so both parents are now nonagenarians.
It was a bittersweet experience. When we sat around the table in the assisted living facility where they live, we were the whole family together again.
But we were keenly aware of the family members who were not there. There would be seven children, and now only four of us remain. (The top three in this photo, and the baby on our sister's lap.) And we wondered if we would ever all be together again.
That is the way of things, and of families. Looking through old albums in our parents' room we were able to put our own time and loss in perspective. Looking at old photos like this one of our Great-grandfather Jeroby, on the left, we were reminded again that each of us in the family comes and goes, but the family lives on. And we live on in our family.
So we celebrated a birthday, and we celebrated a family. Happy birthday, Mother.