Saturday, May 15, 2010

Traveling in the Southwest Part 1

Each spring since 2006 Daddy has taken one or two of us children as traveling companions with him to visit his parents (and help them with projects). This year I was the chosen one. We were absent from home eight days. We only spent 2 full days and 2 part days with Grandpa and Grandpa Mango. What we did in the other approx 5 days will be given in a later post. Hint: We drove 1,200 miles after flying into El Paso, TX.

Near their small Arizonian town lies a B&B decorated to be a 1930s home. It is run by a middle aged Christian couple. They were a delight to get to know. Mr. A. describes his wife as a true Proverbs 31 woman. Not only is she proficent in domestic duties, but she is also fluent in carpentry. Mrs. A. has many stories to tell. I could listen for hours.

Grandpa and Grandma 'retired' to be volunteers at the New Tribes Mission and Aviation base in Arizona. They used to put us up in a guest house, but since they retired from volunteer work, they now have us spend our nights at the local Bed and Breakfast. It is called Sojourners Homestead. I'd recommend it to anyone who is visiting nearby.

I'm writing about the middle part of our trip part first, because it was the primary reason for our trip. Grandpa and Grandpa are very regular in their habits. Therefore, I just need to describe a single day and you know how we spent our time, except for the weekly happenings that came up on the days we were there. :)

Each morning Daddy and I arrived at Grandpa and Grandma's shortly before 9 A.M. The first morning Grandma and I went over to the base to attend a ladies prayer meeting, wash some clothes, and have a computer lesson. Grandpa is resolute in his determination to stand against the flood of technology. Grandma is learning what she can and is doing quite well. While we were gone Daddy and Grandpa worked on spraying the weeds and fixing the swamp cooler.

The second morning I trimmed Grandma's hair. I was a little nervous, but it came out okay.

Grandma has a big heart for those in need. She showed this to me by the conversations she had with various people on the base. Throughout our visit she shared stories of goings on in the town as well as from her past. It made me think, "How much do I love and care for others? Do I love them enough to share the gospel with them?"

Fixing the swamp cooler took two days. Working in the Arizonian sun is no fun, especially if you have fair skin.
After mounting the roof once Grandpa decided that he would be the ground man. He later stated that he was done going up on roofs. The three of us were glad, and hope he keeps his word.
Late in the morning Grandma and I picked up the mail from the Post Office. Upon returning to the mobile she would process it with Grandpa's help. On Wednesday, they unknowingly entertained us as they went through their mail. Grandma cuts open the end of each envelope and skims the contents. If they're worthy of reading she passes it onto Grandpa. Two of the envelopes contained stamped envelopes. The stamps were cut off and duly saved. Grandpa and Grandma raised nine children and are very thrifty. This is where I inherited my thriftiness from, much to some of my sibblings dismay. :) However, though they are thrifty, they share with those in need generously. I am trying to emulate this.
One of the envelopes contained a letter for Grandpa from a doctor who practiced 75 miles away. Grandma asked Grandpa as she gave him the letter, "You're not going to go in for your annual check up, are you?"
Grandpa replied, "No. Why would I go in for him just to ask me, "How are you?" He began reading the letter aloud. We soon found out that the doctor (who was in his early 80s also) was retiring. I don't think that Grandpa's going to see the new doctor either.
I love how Grandpa begins their meals. Each meal he chose one of us to give thanks for the food. After that we would each read a verse card. Most of the time we'd get a 'double portion' and read both sides of the card. I'm a firm believer that we need our spiritual food just as much and more than physical food. I enjoyed this simple reminder.
At lunch on Monday as he took up his card he broke out with, "That big old nasty cheating slimeball....." The topic on his card was "The Tempter."
During the meals Grandma would tell us stories of the past, but mostly of the goings on in their small town. Many seniors live there and several have died in the past months. Death and the earthly consequences was a subject brought to our minds by Grandpa and Grandma. They are working on getting rid of belongings and preparing to move into a daughter's home. (They want to stay in Arizona as long as possible, but they also want to be ready in the event of an emergency.) Even though we talked about death, it was with heaven in view and the sure hope we have of spending eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful to have had this time listening and learning from them. It is sad for me in some ways, but their attitude was catching. Not that I'm want to die, but I want to alway be ready for it. I want to daily be looking forward to when Christ calls His bride home.

Do you know that you're ready for Christ's return?
P.S. Yes, there is a part 2. I will finish up our day with Grandpa and Grandma in Part 2. I want to tell you about the other parts of our trip too. I will keep working on it, and will do my best to get part 2 out in the next day or two.
P.S. S. I hope you get a little laugh out of some of Grandpa's remarks. It is always best to hear them live, but I still chuckle as I write them.

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