Matt and Ashley with their children Gage, Kelsey, and Garrett.
Sunday, 21 Dec 2014
A few years back, my niece Ashley and her husband Matt moved to Texas, where Matt finished his training and became a firefighter. They have a lovely home there and a great life, but we sure do miss having them nearby. It had been more than two years since I'd last seen them, so I was excited when I heard they were coming to Arizona this past week and, even better, they were planning a brief stop here in the White Mountains on their way home.
Last night was the night! In a day-long exchange of Facebook posts and comments, we were kept updated on their progress, and at 8:30 we all converged on the Show Low home of Ashley's maternal grandparents, Dee and Cheri, to visit with our long-lost loved ones!
My sister-in-law Dana with seven of her eight daughters, plus one granddaughter:
Haley, Kelsey, Dana, Brinley, Hayden, Emma, Ashley, Elsie, and Callie.
As an added plus, Ashley's mom Dana also traveled to our mountain with six more of her eight daughters, my lovely nieces. Only Amber remained behind in the Valley with her family. Sarah and I had a wonderful visit with everyone for over 2 hours last night, and it was pretty late when we finally got home.
Kathy, Mary, Sarah, Kelsey, Matt, Gage, Garrett, Ashley, and Myron.
Monday, 22 Dec 2014
But the fun didn't end there! At noon today, we gathered at my dad's favorite Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda, in downtown Lakeside, so that Matt and Ashley's family could spend some time with the paternal grandparents, Myron and Kathy, before they got back on the road headed to Texas. They had a 15-hour drive ahead of them, not including the rest stops needful for a young family along the way, and poor Matt has to be at work by 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. They have a long night of driving ahead of them!
Dana, Emma, Elsie, Brinley, Callie, Haley, Tahna, and Hayden.
Tahna is Dana's sister, and her cute little purple baby bump is just visible.
She is due in one week!
Callie Jayne is always the star of her own show!
At the end of our luncheon, there were lots of hugs and cheek-kisses to go around as we said our farewells. It's always so hard to say good-bye to our loved ones who live so far away, but my heart especially broke when I realized how hard this farewell was for Dana. Not only is her time with her oldest daughter limited, but she has six grand-babies growing up so far away. (Ashley's brother Jamison, his wife Monica, and their children moved to Texas at the same time as Matt and Ashley, and the two families are, in fact, neighbors). I saw tears in Dana's eyes as she tightly hugged Kelsey as if she would like to never let go. I do not look forward to those sorts of partings in my future.
To both Ashley's family and Dana's family: May God bring you all safely home and travel with you each day of your lives!
My adventure didn't end when we said our good-byes, unfortunately. The post office is practically across the street from La Hacienda, so after lunch I stopped to mail the last of my outgoing Christmas cards. When I came out of the post office, my car refused to start. When I turned the key, there was nothing at all. The engine didn't even attempt to turn over.
As He always does, the Lord sent tender mercies. My dad and step-mom at the same moment were a few yards away, dropping cards in the mailbox, so my dad was able to try jump-starting my battery. It didn't take long to determine that a jump-start was not the solution. My dad and Kathy stayed with me until I called AAA to send someone to tow my car to my mechanic. Then they went home to get their truck ready for me to borrow, just in case...
The first tow truck driver soon recognized that my car has all-wheel drive, so a flat-bed truck would be required. Luckily, we didn't have to wait long before the flat-bed arrived and began the long process of securing my car in place for the 6-mile trip.
Life in a small town is always so humorous. Soon after I climbed into the cab of the flat-bed truck, the driver and I realized that we'd met before, at parent-teacher conferences. His twin sons are in my 1st-period freshman English class!
And then, when we arrived at Sunrise Tire, my mechanic came out to greet me by my first name, before instructing the tow-truck driver to take my car directly to the nearest bay so he could look at it right away. I love my community and small-town life!
The flat-bed gets into place to deliver my car at the mechanic's bay.
Looking out from the waiting room in Sunrise Tire.
It turned out that my car required a new starter. An hour-and-a-half and $267 later, my car is running perfectly again! And though the day didn't go exactly as I'd planned, I still managed to accomplish several errands, like finishing some shopping and getting Dylan a haircut, thanks to my dad, who loaned me his truck while my car was being repaired. Dad, you're my hero!