Sister Road Trip – Bitter-sweet

The geographic distance between us makes us thankful that we no longer rely on the Pony Express to trade packages. And the distances give us a growing affection for the Wright brothers and the “flying machines” legacy they left us all – especially as we needed those machines to rendezvous in St. Louis in order to drive into Illinois for a family funeral.

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Uncle Bruce – history lover, story-teller, outdoorsman, bibliophile…

We sisters love every minute we have together but this trip was bitter-sweet in the face of losing our one-of-a-kind Uncle Bruce. We say he was one of our very own Second Hand Lions (if you’ve seen the movie you will understand this even better) because of the grand adventures and extraordinary fun he and our Uncle Bob always concocted for us and our cousins – and later, for our children.

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Some of the cousins from Texas, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona. Others were too far away to come – like in the Middle East. And we missed them.

Uncle Bruce was a gifted cartoonist and held Lincoln in high regard.

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His “Little Bear” Lincoln Bear shirts were prized possessions for us!

It’s a great loss for our family. And for everyone who knew this kind, devoted, fiercely patriotic Marine Corps veteran who loved his family and his Savior.

Huddling together in the winter weather reminds us that family closeness is important in this cold world!

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We were all born Graham girls. These dear aunts have offered many kindnesses to us through our lives.

He loved to hunt – sometimes with his binoculars and camera and sometimes with bow and arrows. So the cousins banded together to honor him with an arrangement that held arrows.

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The other sister and I determined to get one of those arrows to our dad, who at age 94 was unable to attend the funeral for his youngest sibling. The problem with going from concept to reality in this case was due to the fact that the arrow wouldn’t fit into either of our suitcases. After brief consultation we decided it wouldn’t work to convince TSA agents that one single arrow doesn’t really qualify as “dangerous” materials. They are funny about stuff like that.

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The arrows were a personal touch.

Now, I’m including this instructional episode because I’m sure that sometime in the future many of you will need to know how to solve this dilemma.

Should we cut the arrow so that it fits into the suitcase? Neither of us happened to have a saw with us. So we hatched a late night plot to mail the arrow home to the Colorado ranch – if only we could find a mailing container that would fit an arrow. This took us to the wrapping paper aisle at the large chain “general store” and also involved the taping of Styrofoam cups to each end to prevent the arrow from poking through.

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Step #1 – Make sure the wrapping paper roll is longer than the arrow. Use thread to measure if you don’t have the arrow in the store when purchasing the wrapping paper.

 

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Step #2 – use plastic cups to protect ends of wrapping paper and then insert the arrow.

 

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The post office lady didn’t think it strange at all that we would be mailing wrapping paper to ourselves.

 

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The arrow hit the bull’s eye – undented and intact. Success!

It worked! The arrow – an important memento for our dad – is safely in place! What sisters can accomplish we when concoct together!

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Small town often hold big treasures!

And on the way back to the St. Louis airport we took a quick detour to find Quilting on Aisle 3 in the little town (with some great Victorian houses) in Virden, Ill. We got some hot tips from Trudi about the heat activated pens they carry and discovered that the three friends who run this shop are willing to do custom quilts! You can find their web site HERE.

The quick trip made me conscious once again that our time together here is so brief and so fleeting. We do well to soak up the pleasure of every minute.

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Farewells touch us deeply.

And now we are home safe and sound – and so is Uncle Bruce!

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The uncles always “keep the light on” so we knew we were always welcome! Makes me homesick for our real Home!

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