I'm still with Aunt Mary Lou, waiting here to see if a ticket to New Zealand will miraculously materialize. If so, I'm crossing that ocean! If not, I'm backpacking sequoia national park, we'll see what fate has in store for this old boy.
Never before have I felt so connected with my family as on this trip. I actually miss people back home! A phenomenon that never occurred at the Big Red pain in the ass. And I'm getting to actually know my Aunt and cousins on a personal basis, where we understand each other as more than just relatives...as...friends? I'm going to try to make it down to visit my Uncle Harry and his family in Tuscon before coming back to Ithaca. My cousin Micheal is a handful to euphamize excessively, but it'll still be fun. I like putting him in his place when he needs it.
Every night I've been here, Mary Lou and I have had amazing talks, about everything from spirituality to food to psychology and of course family. And she talks about my Dad Jeff. I'm so glad, and it means so much to me. I've not heard nearly enough about him, it was always a topic that was a little bit weird in my family for some reason. I think because my Dad Dave always thought he was being compared with Jeff, and really, how can you compete with the dead husband and father? No one talks bad about the dead. But even if they did, I don't think anyone would ever have talked bad about Jeff. Mary Lou says he was calm and grounding, he didn't even need to say anything and you just felt better being around him. She loved him, and so do I, and being here is so good, I soak up every word.
I feel like I'm growing in a very similar way to Jeff, following his path three decades later, and I want to be like him. Best of all is that Mary Lou keeps saying how I am just like him :) Not only because I look like him (if you've ever seen the picture of me inset with the picture of him you know what I mean) but because I act like him, and calm her manic-depressive craziness. She's been manic the whole time I've been here, but stable. And being compared with my father is the greatest compliment I've ever received. Thanks Mary Lou.
I can't really know for sure that I'm like him, I take people's word for it. But I still have this sense of who he was, even though I only have a handful of memories, like riding on his shoulders and he had to duck to make it under a doorway with me. And riding a little red wagon, steering with the bar, and something about fruit cocktail. No matter, I found some of his books growing up and got to read those, and I love sci-fi and the sorts of stuff he did *cough, green, cough*. It's all good :)
I'm eating amazing food and sleeping in a great bed, she has a little basement room that I would love to hole up in and write for a decade, but I need to finish my trip before I go Vonnegut on everyone. I can't wait to get a little space and write until I have carpal tunnel. Ithaca's going to be great this summer! Until then, I'll keep blogging.