Sondra and I flew out of LAX on Monday, June 6, headed to Springfield, Missouri, on Allegiant Airlines. It was non-stop and a smooth flight. Steve and Regina (our nephew and his wife) picked us up at the airport, which was a surprise and special. We enjoyed the evening with my brother Noel and his wife Janice (and, of course, nephew Mark). This was a trip set up to take Noel to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for a consult there.
So, on Tuesday morning, we (Noel, Mark, Sondra and I) began the 780-mile drive from Springfield to Cleveland, going through St. Louis and Indianapolis. It was a long day. We started at 9 am and, with stops for gas and eating, arrived at our hotel in Cleveland around midnight. Our hotel (Radisson) was directly across the street from both the Cleveland basketball arena and the Cleveland Indians baseball field.
Noel's appointment was Wednesday afternoon, so the day was planned around that. We did not have time to scout out the town or do anything of the "tourist" nature. I sat in with Noel as the doctor reviewed his case and made some comments about the next steps to take. After discussion, the doctor asked Noel to do some more tests by wearing a monitor at home for some time. This monitor will record miniature EKGs that will be sent by phone to the hospital (Cleveland Clinic) at various intervals. This will give them extra data to make further determinations on his heart problems.
Because nothing further could be done at the clinic, we set out on Thursday morning to head back to Missouri. We left early and arrived back in Springfield around 9 pm. I was tired but pleased that the trip was beneficial to Noel, in the fact that more tests will be done and therefore more hope for the days ahead.
On Friday, we just took time to catch up on sleep and visiting with each other. Saturday, we decided to run down to Joplin to view some of the damage from the recent tornado. Janice, Mark, Sondra and I drove the 70 miles and saw the terrible devastation. It is almost impossible to describe in words what it felt like as we drove down the many streets and by the businesses and homes that were destroyed. Pictures cannot do justice to the emotions that one feels in that environment of tragedy. I was so glad that I was a part of some relief efforts in the past weeks to help the ones who were in need.
I was asked to preach by Noel's pastor, so on Sunday morning I brought the morning message at Noel's church. It was an enjoyable and blessed time. That evening, Bailey Hill (Janice's dad) returned from a trip to Iowa and Nebraska and came by to see us. It's always good to see him and renew a wonderful friendship. We have known him for many years (since the mid-1970s) as he was a deacon at my dad's church in Wasco, California.
Monday (June 13) was our last day. We relaxed and went out to eat and enjoyed the day. Sondra and I got our flight that evening, saying our good-byes and feeling sad as we had to go. We arrived at LAX around 10 pm, picked up our car from long-term parking and then got home around midnight.
It was a trip that meant a lot to us, as we spent time with Noel and his family.