Moving To Texas
by John C. Westervelt
When my grandchildren moved to Texas in August 1997, I recorded my feelings to share with folks like you:
The tops of the roses in the garden beside the patio presented a smorgasbord of red, pink, cream, and orange. The morning sun was still hiding behind the neighbors’ trees. Just as I finished my bacon and eggs, a car arrived. Paul, Sandy, Brett, and Amy got out. Katy, the friendly, family dog, stayed on the sheets in the back seat. My son and his family had left their van filled with precious belongings in my garage overnight. These two vehicles would soon be joined by another driven by Sandy’s parents, Chris and Nancy. The three carloads would caravan to my son’s family’s new home in Katy, west of Houston.
After crowding more luggage into the van, Paul and Brett, in a matter-of-fact way, shook my hand. Sandy and Amy were not so nonchalant. They shared a warm hug, and then were on their way.
I stayed at the patio table awhile. The many colors of the roses blended into one, as I let my eyes and mind fall limply into memories. Amy is now twelve, and for several years has preferred overnight stays with church, school, and soccer friends.
It had not always been so. My thoughts drifted backward nine years to when Amy was three. She was too young to remember her Grandma Nelda dying a year earlier. I was her choice for overnight stays. On an October Saturday in 1988, Paul, Sandy, and Brett went with their good friends, Bob and Pat Schroeder, to Stillwater for the day and for a 6:30 football game between OSU and TU. When they dropped off Amy, she said, “When I get big, I can go to Stillwater, too.” Amy and I were to play for a day and then meet her family at Asbury on Sunday morning.
After lunch and a nap, Amy and I headed north on Sheridan toward the zoo. The three-year-old’s conversation was continuous and contagious. Since Amy’s legs were short, we rode the train to the south end and walked back as we visited with the animals. Just beyond the train stop, we found the seals. It was an instant friendship between Amy and the daddy, mommy, and two baby seals. The daddy seal was on the top platform, which seemed to be his territory. The babies chased each other. It was as if all four seals could hear Amy's continual chatter as they performed to her requests. The daddy seal dove into the water. Both Amy and I were surprised at how fast the seals could glide about the pool, barely missing the sides.
In my mind, we should have kept the tour moving, so we could say we had seen all of the animals at the zoo. After seeing the lions and giraffes and zebras, Amy said, "Let’s go back to see the seals." The two babies were now on the high platform taking their nap. In their sleep they kept twitching, trying to snuggle closer together. It may be that God designed them this way to share body warmth. After more talking to the four seals, we looked at fish in the building close by.
As we came out, Amy said, “I’m hungry, but I want to see the seals first.” After reading the choices at the snack stand of hot dogs, popcorn and others, I asked Amy, “What would you like?”
“What do you like best, Grandpa John?”
“I want popcorn and a pop.”
We took our snacks with us to watch the elephants. Amy showed me that you could sit and talk to the elephants and to each other. I may have been wrong, thinking we had to see all of the animals.
There were 45,000 at Lewis stadium that evening. If you could find the one player or fan that truly had the best time, it was evident to me his joy was not as great as mine on that October day.
Memories are for moments. Living is for the hours and the days. The roses came back into crisp focus as I returned to the present and decided to get ready to go by Jan’s office to leave a disk, before going to Amoco for a few hours work. I’ll stay busy. I’ll pretend to be brave, even when I feel alone. Jesus must know how I feel because He reminds me, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.
So, His words tell me that I’m never alone. For this, I am grateful.
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